World news

Bolivia's president and Venezuela's Socialist Party leader test positive for coronavirus

This comes days after Brazil's president tested positive, while Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez tested positive in June

Bolivia's interim president and Venezuela's number two official have tested positive for coronavirus, days after Brazil's president was hit by the pandemic.

The infections in Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia, which is seeing a spike in cases, come after Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez tested positive in June and was briefly treated in hospital.

Three Cabinet ministers in the administration of Bolivian leader Jeanine Anez have also tested positive for the virus, including Health Minister Eidy Roca and Presidency Minister Yerko Nunez.

Jeanine Anez said she will remain in isolation for 14 days when another test will be done, but she will continue to work remotely from the presidential residence.

"I feel good, I feel strong," she wrote on her Twitter account.

Bolivia's Health Ministry said the country has 42,984 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,577 deaths, and is seeing an increase in the number of new cases amid reports that hospitals are being overwhelmed in some regions.

Meanwhile, in Venezuela, socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello revealed that he had tested positive for Covid-19, making him the highest-ranking leader in the South American nation to come down with the virus so far.

Mr Cabello is considered the second-most powerful person in Venezuela after President Nicolas Maduro and made the announcement on Twitter, stating that he is isolated, getting treatment and will overcome the illness.

"We will win!" he wrote.

Venezuela is considered one of the world's least prepared countries to confront the pandemic, as hospitals are routinely short on basic supplies like water, electricity and medicine.

The nation has registered considerably fewer Covid-19 cases than others in the region, but the number of infections has grown in recent weeks.

As of Wednesday July 8, the government had reported 8,010 confirmed cases and 75 deaths.

"Venezuela is with Diosdado," Mr Maduro said. "I am sure soon enough we will continue on in this fight."

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro was diagnosed with Covid-19 on July 7.

He appeared on an online broadcast from the presidential residence yesterday as defiant as on previous occasions.

He coughed once, but did not show other symptoms of the disease that has killed more than 69,000 people in the South American nation.

Mr Bolsonaro repeated his view that the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic is more dangerous than the coronavirus itself, and insisted that mayors and governors need to reopen the country for business.

"We need governors and mayors, within their responsibilities, to reopen commerce.

"Otherwise the consequences will be harmful for Brazil,"Mr Bolsonaro said.

Map of global Covid-19 cases by John Hopkins University:  

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access