LA PAZ, Bolivia, Weds. Jan 13, 2021 (Reuters) – Former Bolivian President Evo Morales tested positive for the coronavirus and is getting treatment to combat symptoms, according to a statement issued by his office late on Tuesday.
“He is currently stable and is receiving medical attention,” the statement said, without providing details on his symptoms.
Last week, 61-year old Morales participated in group meetings with coca growers in Cochabamba in the central part of the country.
The critical-care wards of major hospitals in Bolivia and neighboring Peru have been near collapse after end-of-year holidays, reflecting regional health concerns as much of Latin America struggles to secure adequate COVID-19 vaccine supplies.
While daily cases remain below last year’s peak, depleted resources, weary medical workers and a recent rush of severe cases are taxing already ailing healthcare systems from Chile to Mexico, officials say.
Bolivia has had 176,761 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,454 deaths.
The news comes as Colombian Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo also tested positive for coronavirus.
Trujillo is in good health and is isolating following his positive test result, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Tuesday, adding the minister will continue to work virtually.
On Monday, the Ministry of Foreign affairs reported that Foreign Minister Claudia Blum had tested positive for coronavirus.
Other notable people to be infected include First Lady Maria Juliana Ruiz, who tested positive in November, and Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez, who tested positive in October.
President Ivan Duque has not tested positive. Duque has regular coronavirus tests because of his high level of exposure and busy schedule.
The Andean country has reported more than 1.8 million coronavirus infections, as well as 46,782 deaths due to COVID-19, the disease it causes.
(Reporting by Daniel Ramos; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)