The Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández, and his wife, Ana García, tested positive for the coronavirus, the president announced Tuesday in a press appearance.
“Over the weekend, I began to feel some discomfort, and today I have been diagnosed as having been infected with COVID-19,” said the 51-year-old president.
Hernández added that he will continue in his functions through “telework,” that he has started treatment to address his “mild symptoms” and that at the moment his wife is asymptomatic.
Hernández regretted at the same time that the local hospital system has “collapsed” due to the large number of those infected but said that health workers have begun to attend to the sick in their homes.
Authorities in Honduras said Tuesday night that total cases had increased to 9,656 — with 478 new cases — and that deaths had reached 330, in a country of 9.3 million inhabitants.
Born on October 28, 1968 to a rural lower-middle-class family in the western department of Lempira, JOH, as he is popularly known, holds the Honduran presidency for the second consecutive four-year term.
He won the 2013 elections for the 2014-2018 period, and while the Constitution prohibited re-election, members of the Constitutional Chamber eliminated that obstacle, ruling in favor of an appeal presented by a group of deputies related to the president.
The contested constitutional interpretation allowed him to run again, and he took office in January 2018 after strong protests from the opposition, which denounced “fraud” in the November 2017 elections.
Since the start of the pandemic in mid-March, Hernández has been at the forefront of the strategy to combat and prevent the coronavirus.
The coronavirus has been spreading in Honduras despite the curfew established on March 16 to force social isolation. The government sent military and police into the streets to pressure the population to stay home.
In many press appearances, the President has promoted social isolation, the use of face masks, and hand washing. In some, he appeared wearing a face mask, but he still suspects that he was infected during a visit or work meeting.