Honduras' president hospitalized with COVID-19 as Latin America becomes virus 'epicenter'

The World Health Organization called Latin America the new epicenter of the global pandemic.
Image: HONDURAS-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS-COVID-19
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks during a press conference to confirm the Two first cases of the COVID-19 virus in the country at the Permanent Emergency Operations Center in Tegucigalpa, on March 11, 2020.Orlando Sierra / AFP - Getty Images

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By Carmen Sesin

The president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, was hospitalized for pneumonia on Wednesday, after revealing the previous day that he and his wife had tested positive for COVID-19.

Doctors determined he had pneumonia after reviewing lab work and x-rays and recommended he be hospitalized, according to a spokesperson for the Honduran health agency SINAGER. The spokesperson said during a news conference that Hernández was receiving intravenous medicine that had to be administered at the military hospital and is in good condition.

After the news conference, Hernandez tweeted that he appreciates the support he has received and said he is well, “with faith and strength to continue working for the Honduran people.”

Hernández’s wife has not shown symptoms of the disease and two presidential aides also tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the health agency’s spokesperson.

Hernández had announced in a televised message Tuesday night that he and his wife had tested positive for the virus after feeling discomfort over the weekend. He had said his symptoms were light and was well enough to continue working remotely.

He said that with the responsibility of his job it was impossible to stay home constantly and was therefore more at risk of becoming infected.

The World Health Organization considers Latin America the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 1.5 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 70,000 deaths from the disease.

Brazil is now second to the United States in reported deaths. Other countries like Peru, Chile, and Mexico are grappling with the soaring number of cases and deaths.

There are almost 10,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Honduras and 330 deaths.

Other world leaders have contracted the virus, since the pandemic began, including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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Associated Press contributed.