Uruguay’s former Minister of Defence has become the country’s first victim of the coronavirus pandemic.
Uruguay’s National Emergency System confirmed former government minister Rodolfo Gonzalez Rissotto had died after contracting COVID-19 at the age of 71.
Rissotto was one of the nine patients with coronavirus hospitalised in intensive care units Uruguay. He was being treated at the Intensive Treatment centre of the Spanish Association.
The politician was linked with the National Party (centre-right) during his long career and was National Director of Education, and the Sub-Secretary and Minister of Defence during the presidency of Luis Alberto Lacalle, the father of the current president, Luis Lacalle Pou.
Between 1996 and 2010 he was the Minister of the Electoral Court, according to local media
President Pou sent a message of condolence, “a big hug for his family and friends… friend and advisor”.
The Secretary of Presidency, Alvaro Delgado, wrote on social media: “With more reasons, I want to reinforce to everybody the request to take care of yourselves and to stay at home, it is the best way of preventing this.”
Delgado said that the former minister had sent him a message some days ago about coronavirus, saying: “With these beautiful flowers I want to send a message of hope, to remind you that humanity has been known to go through very serious pandemics in the past, the only thing we should fear is fear itself.”
Delgado asked people to stay at home for the next 15 days and made a call for citizens to avoid crowds in public places.
According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Uruguay has 304 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Rissotto is the only death.
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