Uruguay reported its first death linked to the novel coronavirus on Saturday, a former minister and ally of the ruling party, the government said.
"With deep sadness we announce the first death due to coronavirus in Uruguay," Secretary of the Presidency Alvaro Delgado told a press conference, naming the victim as Rodolfo González Rissotto.
González Rissotto was one of nine patients with the coronavirus who were in intensive care, Delgado said, adding his death was "all the more reason to reinforce the request to everyone to take care of themselves and stay home."
Linked to the ruling National Party, González Risotto was successively National Director of Education and Undersecretary and Minister of Defence during the presidency of Luis Alberto Lacalle, father of the current president, Luis Lacalle Pou.
President Luis Lacalle Pou paid tribute in a tweet.
"A big hug for the family and friends of Rodolfo González Risotto. Friend and counselor. RIP."
Uruguay has reported 304 confirmed cases of the virus.