Guatemala replaces health minister mid-pandemic
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemala replaced its health minister Friday amid the rising pace of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the Central American country.
President Alejandro Giammattei pushed out Health Minister Hugo Monroy and named Amelia Flores, a former vice minister of health in an earlier administration, as his replacement.
Monroy, who had held the position since January, had been harshly criticized for his management of the pandemic. Federal lawmakers called him in multiple times for questioning and complained that the Health Ministry was spending too little of its budget during the pandemic.
During his tenure, doctors from the public health system protested that they weren’t being paid. Images of hospitals overwhelmed by the sick have increasingly painted a grim picture of the situation in Guatemala.
Guatemala has reported more than 11,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 449 deaths.
President Alejandro Giammattei has been under growing pressure from the business sector to loosen restrictions. Earlier attempts to reactivate the economy were followed by a surge in infections, prompting Giammattei to clamp down again.
Flores is a doctor who served in the administration of President Óscar Berger from 2004 to 2008.