Colombian President Ivan Duce has declared three days of "national mourning" to honor "the memory of Carlos Holmes Trujillo Garcia and all the other victims" of the new coronavirus pandemic in Latin America.
Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Ivan Duque's defense minister, was announced on Tuesday that he had died of complications from viral pneumonia after contracting the new coronavirus. He was 69 years old.
He was Minister of Education (1992-1994), Minister of the Interior (1997-1998), then Minister of Foreign Affairs (2018-2019), before taking over the portfolio of Defense.
The presidential decree still refers to more than 51.700 victims of COVID-19 in Colombia, a country that has recorded more than 2 million cases of SARS-CoV-2. He speaks of "a fact that saddens the nation", calls on citizens to "reflect on the impact of the pandemic on our society" and to ensure that there are "conditions and attitudes" needed to "limit its effects". He expresses the condolences of the head of state to "all the families" who lost members due to the pandemic.
Speaking to reporters, the president said that the death of his minister "fills him with pain" and judged that the country "lost one of its best men".
Holmes Trujillo was admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) on January 15.
Among others, the new coronavirus has infected Colombia's first lady Maria Juliana Ruiz (November) and Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez (October). Ivan Duke is not infected. The head of state is tested almost daily, as he has a high level of exposure and a busy schedule.