An emotional President of Honduras was discharged from hospital on Thursday morning, 16 days after being diagnosed with Covid-19.
Speaking at Tegucigalpa’s Military Hospital, President Juan Orlando Hernández thanked his medical team and honored the victims of the pandemic in his country.
“Many think this is a game and it is not until they see a relative who gets sick or when they get sick themselves that they understand the seriousness of this issue,” the President said on national TV. “I tell you, the truth is I don’t wish this on anyone.”
“I thought about what would happen if I could not be with my family anymore,” he said, noting that his wife, First Lady Ana García de Hernández, was recovering from the virus at home.
He asked the Honduran people to help him to fight the virus by taking individual responsibility, “Covid has come to change our lives” he added. Hospitals in main cities in his country are collapsing due to the escalating demand of the pandemic, he said.
The Honduran President was admitted to the hospital on June 16, becoming the first president in Latin America to test positive for the virus. His wife and two aides also tested positive.
At the briefing Thursday, Lieutenant Dr. Alicia Jiménez said the President’s health had shown significant improvement in the last few days, adding that he will continue his treatment while isolating at home.
When he was admitted, the President’s medical condition included pneumonia symptoms, Jiménez said. His condition deteriorated on June 22 but he improved days later, she added.
Hernández also sent a message on Twitter with a photo of himself leaving hospital saying: “My commitment with Honduras is stronger than ever. Let’s get to work! Who said fear?”
The Honduran President is a controversial figure in the country.
In 2019 he faced calls to resign after his brother Juan Antonio Hernández Alvarado was found guilty of leading a major cocaine trafficking operation. The President’s brother was accused during trial of using drug money “to impact Honduran presidential elections in 2009, 2013, and 2017.”
President Hernández has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Honduras reported 704 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 20,262. The death toll in the Central American country stands at 542.