Days after Brazil’s president said he had contracted COVID-19, another South American leader, Bolivia’s interim president, Jeanine Áñez, said she too had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I feel good, I feel strong, I will continue to work virtually from my isolation,” Áñez said in a video posted to her Twitter account.
Áñez assumed the presidency in Bolivia in November, following the resignation of longtime President Evo Morales, who was forced out of office amid widespread protests alleging of election fraud. Áñez is set to remain until elections, which are scheduled for September. She is among the candidates running to succeed Morales.
Three other Bolivian government ministers have also tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days, including Eidy Roca, the country’s health minister.
The announcement from Áñez came on the same day that Venezuela’s socialist party chief, Diosdado Cabello — considered the second-most powerful person in the country after President Nicolás Maduro — also announced that he had become ill with COVID-19.
Bolivia has confirmed nearly 43,000 infections and more than 1,500 deaths, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University. Officially, Venezuela has fewer cases than much of the rest of the continent, but those numbers have been increasing.
Earlier this week, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro confirmed that he too had tested positive for the virus. Brazil ranks second only to the U.S. in the number of cases and deaths from the virus – with more than 1.7 million confirmed infections and nearly 68,000 deaths.