Guatemala COVID-19 chief headed back to CU Denver medical job

GUATEMALA CITY — The man leading Guatemala’s effort against the coronavirus said Tuesday he is leaving that post in order to return to his job at the University of Colorado Denver.

Epidemiologist Edwin Asturias, head of the Presidential Commission for the COVID-19 Emergency, said in a letter to the president he had complied with the majority of his commitment to the task and that the university had asked him to return his job in the U.S.

The physician and researcher took the job in his native country on June 4, on leave as a professor at the Colorado school, where he is a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases.

Oversight of the pandemic effort will now fall to the Public Health Ministry rather than a commission reporting to President Alejandro Giammattei.

Cases in Guatemala, as in many parts of the world, have been rising, partly due to the passage of hurricanes that have left more than 300,000 Guatemalans in shelters that often lack adequate measures against the pandemic.

Guatemala has reported about 126,000 infections and nearly 4,300 deaths attributed to the virus.

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