JOHANNESBURG – President Donald Trump has joined a growing group of world leaders who have been infected with the coronavirus. Some, like Trump, had been accused of not taking the pandemic seriously. A few are now sending Trump their wishes for a speedy recovery. At 74, the U.S. president is the oldest head of state to become infected with the virus, and his age puts him at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19.
The British prime minister was the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19, after facing criticism for downplaying the pandemic. He was moved to intensive care in April after his symptoms dramatically worsened a day after he was hospitalized for what were called routine tests. He was given oxygen but did not need a ventilator, officials said. He later expressed his gratitude to National Health Service staff for saving his life when his treatment could have “gone either way.” Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, also tested positive in March and showed mild symptoms.
The Brazilian president announced his illness in July and used it to publicly extol hydroxychloroquine, the unproven malaria drug that he’d been promoting as a treatment for COVID-19 and was taking himself. For months he had flirted with the virus, calling it a “little flu,” as he flouted social distancing at lively demonstrations and encouraged crowds during outings from the presidential residence, often without a mask.
JUAN ORLANDO HERNANDEZ
The Honduras president announced in June that he had tested positive, along with two other people who worked closely with him. Hernández said he had started what he called the “MAIZ treatment,” an experimental and unproven combination of microdacyn, azithromycin, ivermectin and zinc. He was briefly hospitalized and released. He has added his voice to growing pleas for equitable access to any COVID-19 vaccine, asking the recent U.N. gathering of world leaders, “Are people to be left to die?”
The president of Belarus, who dismissed concerns about the virus as “psychosis” and recommended drinking vodka to stay healthy, said in July he had contracted it himself but was asymptomatic. Belarus is one of the few countries that took no comprehensive measures against the virus. Other top officials in former Soviet states who were infected include Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
PRINCE ALBERT II OF MONACO
The palace of Monaco in March said the ruler of the tiny Mediterranean principality tested positive but his health was not worrying. He was the first head of state who publicly said he was infected.
The Guatemalan president said he tested positive for the virus in September. “My symptoms are very mild. Up to now, I have body aches, it hurt more yesterday than today, like a bad cold,” he said during a televised address. “I don’t have a fever, I have a bit of a cough.” He said he’d be working from home.
The virus drove the Bolivian interim president into isolation in July, but she said she was feeling well.
The newly elected president of the Dominican Republic contracted and recovered from COVID-19 during his campaign. He spent weeks in isolation before the country’s July election.
Iran, the epicenter of the Mideast’s initial coronavirus outbreak, has seen several top officials test positive. Among them are senior Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri and Vice President Massoumeh Ebtekar. Cabinet members have tested positive, too.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, 71, recently tested positive but his office said he had no symptoms and was quarantined at home. Home Minister Amit Shah, the No. 2 man in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, was hospitalized for COVID-19 last month and has recovered. Junior Railways Minister Suresh Angadi last week was the first federal minister to die from COVID-19.
Then-Health Minister Yaakov Litzman tested positive in April and recovered. Litzman is a leader in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community, which has seen a high rate of infection as many have defied restrictions on religious gatherings. The minister for Jerusalem affairs, Rafi Peretz, tested positive over the summer as cases surged nationwide and recovered.
The country's defense minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, mineral resources and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, and labor minister, Thulas Nxesi, were infected as cases surged in June and July.
Vice President Riek Machar was among several Cabinet ministers infected.
Vice President Isatou Touray tested positive in July along with the ministers of finance, energy and agriculture.
Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam in April said he tested positive.
Associated Press writers around the world contributed.