The president of Honduras was hospitalized on Wednesday for Covid-19 and is being treated for pneumonia, a day after testing positive for the illness, a government health official said.
The president, Juan Orlando Hernández, was admitted after laboratory tests and X-rays revealed the pneumonia. He was receiving medicine intravenously, said the health official, Francis Contreras, in a televised statement to the news media.
But Mr. Contreras sought to reassure the country about the president’s condition. “His general state of health is good,” Mr. Contreras said, adding that the president’s medical team had recommended that he be treated as an inpatient at a hospital rather than remain at home.
Mr. Hernández’s transfer to the hospital came hours after he announced, in a televised statement late Tuesday night, that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, joining a small group of world leaders infected in the pandemic that has swept the globe and reached into the halls of power of several governments.
In his televised statement, Mr. Hernández said he was well enough to continue working remotely and would be examined to determine the next steps. Doctors recommended rest, he added.
He said that he began feeling unwell over the weekend, and that the diagnosis was confirmed on Tuesday.
“I feel enough strength and energy to continue forward and beat this pandemic,” he said in the Tuesday statement. “We are going to get ahead of this. I trust in God, Honduran doctors and medicine.”
Mr. Hernández said his wife and two of his two aides had also become infected. He said his wife, Ana García, tested positive for the virus but was asymptomatic.
He urged Hondurans to continue to follow social-distancing guidelines, as he had not been able to. “Because of my job I have not been able to stay 100 percent at home,” he said.
As the virus has ricocheted around the globe, the Americas have become an epicenter of the outbreak, with Brazil reporting the highest number of deaths after the United States and nations like Peru, Chile and Mexico collectively reporting hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases.
The president of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, writing on Twitter, expressed solidarity with Mr. Hernández and wished him a “speedy recovery.”
Honduras has confirmed more than 9,000 cases of the coronavirus, with 322 deaths, according to the Pan American Health Organization. The country was battered by a dengue epidemic last year that sickened more than 100,000 people and left 180 dead.
The country — which closed its borders, mandated a blanket curfew and severely restricted the ability of people to leave their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic — began reopening its economy last week after nearly three months of a shutdown. About half a million jobs were lost or suspended, according to estimates by the business sector.
Mr. Hernández joins a small number of world leaders who have announced that they have contracted the new coronavirus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain tested positive in March and spent three nights in intensive care. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin of Russia said he tested positive in April, and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia said he and his family caught the virus in early June.
Several wives of top global leaders have also been infected, including Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada; Olena Zelenska, the wife of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine; and Begoña Gómez, the wife of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain.
Iran is believed to have among the highest number of government officials infected by the coronavirus, including Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, President Hassan Rouhani’s deputy for women’s affairs and the highest-ranking woman in the government.
Daniel Victor and Yonette Joseph contributed reporting.