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Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader J. Jayalalithaa is able to breathe on her own without respiratory support, Apollo Hospital chairman Prathap C. Reddy confirmed on Friday.

The news came a day after AIADMK spokesman C. Ponnaiyyan indicated that her lung infection and respiratory issues had been completely cured, and she could be discharged any day.

Despite the improvement, Jayalalithaa is being kept on ventilator for 15 minutes daily so that “her lungs could expand" and continues to be kept at the hospital’s critical care unit to avoid infection, Reddy said on Friday.

He did not reveal an expected discharge date, but said that she could leave the hospital whenever she wished.

“She has a passion to work and will get back as soon as possible," Reddy said.

The 68-year-old chief minister was admitted to Chennai’s Apollo Hospital on 22 September with complaints of fever and dehydration. The last official health update from the hospital authorities came almost a month back. It said that she was “interacting and progressing gradually."

While it has been over two months since she entered the hospital, there continues to be an air of secrecy around Jayalalithaa’s health. Last Sunday, she said she had taken “rebirth" and appealed to the people of the state to vote for her party in the upcoming by-elections to three constituencies on 19 November.

“I request people of Tamil Nadu to vote for AIADMK in Thanjavur, Aravakurichi, Thiruparankundram and in Pondicherry. Though I’m unable do the campaigning in person, my heart is there," Jayalalithaa had said in a statement.

“I have taken a rebirth due to the prayers of the people and my party cadre. What can harm me when I have your love," she said, adding that she was waiting to completely recover and resume work.

Also read: I have taken rebirth, says Jayalalithaa

With Jayalalithaa hospitalized, her trusted aide O. Pannerselvam has been given charge of all her portfolios.

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