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Honduras’ president and first lady test positive for coronavirus

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández in a face mask in Tegucigalpa on Monday.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández wears a face mask in Tegucigalpa on Monday.
(AFP via Getty Images)

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19, the Central American leader said late Tuesday in a television message.

Hernández said that over the weekend he began feeling some discomfort and on Tuesday received the test results.

He said it was part of the risk that came with the job. With his responsibilities, he said, he could not self-isolate at home.

Hernández said his symptoms were mild and that he was already starting to feel better. He said he had started what he called the “MAIZ treatment,” an experimental combination of microdacyn, azithromycin, ivermectin and zinc.

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He said his wife was asymptomatic and that two other people who worked with them were also infected.

Honduras has nearly 10,000 confirmed cases of the disease and 330 deaths. But testing is limited, and the public health system is operating under great strain.

U.S. prosecutors accused a former commander of the Honduran police of importing tons of cocaine into the United States on behalf of the country’s president, a Trump ally.

The center of Honduras’ epidemic has been in Cortes, the state surrounding San Pedro Sula in the north, but in recent weeks cases have surged around the capital of Tegucigalpa.

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Hernández is a close ally of the Trump administration, primarily in efforts to slow illegal immigration. U.S. federal prosecutors in New York, however, have prosecuted the president’s brother and made it increasingly clear that a case was building against Hernández himself.

No charges have been filed against the president, but U.S. prosecutors have alleged that he accepted money from drug traffickers to advance his political career in exchange for allowing them to move drugs through the country.

Hernández has denied those allegations.

He was reelected in a disputed November 2017 election, despite the country’s constitutional ban on reelection.


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