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Guatemala's president says he's a 'high-risk' patient after coronavirus diagnosis

GUATEMALA CITY, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, who last week confirmed he tested positive for the coronavirus, said on Tuesday that he is a “high-risk” patient due to his pre-existing medical conditions and history of heavy smoking.

In an televised speech, Giammattei, 64, said he felt tired but also in good spirits. He added that his oxygen levels, which can often be an indicator of deteriorating health, were fine.

The former surgeon, who took office in January, walks on crutches because of multiple sclerosis he suffered in his youth.

“I must admit that I am a high-risk patient for COVID-19 because of the disease I had,” Giammattei said.

He said his elevated risk levels were also due to having been “a chronic smoker for many years, because of hypertension, because of heart disease, because I can’t be called a very thin person.”

Guatemala has registered 85,694 infections and 3,134 deaths linked to COVID-19. (Reporting by Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City; Writing by Drazen Jorgic Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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