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World News

Coronavirus spreads in top echelon of Guatemala's government

FILE PHOTO: Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei looks on during a news conference with Michael Kozak (not pictured), acting assistant secretary for U.S. State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, in Guatemala City, Guatemala February 7, 2020. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Four more Guatemalan officials have tested positive for the coronavirus, authorities said on Wednesday, after Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei and a culture minister were revealed last week to have contracted COVID-19.

The 64-year-old president said in a televised message on Wednesday that he had endured a “pretty terrible” night and woke up with body pains.

Giammattei added that the General Subsecretary of the Presidency and the Viceminister of International Relations had both tested positive.

Authorities told Reuters later that two other government advisors had also tested positive, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the upper ranks of government to at least six.

Giammattei, the fourth Latin American leader to contract the novel coronavirus, announced he was infected just as the Central American country was easing draconian travel restrictions imposed months ago to contain infections.

Guatemala in total has registered 87,442 cases and 3,154 deaths.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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