Saturday 8/15/20

Brazilian President Bolsonaro tests positive for Covid-19

He said he was feeling better after taking the drugs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: Marcos Correa/Brazilian presidency/dpa.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: Marcos Correa/Brazilian presidency/dpa.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for Covid-19, he confirmed on Tuesday, after several months of downplaying the importance of the novel coronavirus.

Commenting on the test result on television, Bolsonaro said the symptoms started on Sunday, including fever and fatigue.

He said he was feeling better after taking the drugs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, which he has presented as Covid-19 treatments despite little scientific proof of their effectiveness.

Bolsonaro cancelled two visits outside the capital this week, according to the national news agency Agencia Brasil. He was expected to continue working from home.

The right-wing populist president, who has been dismissive of the disease and has called it a "little flu," took a Covid-19 test and a lung exam at a military hospital in Brasilia on Monday.

The 65-year-old was seen in public wearing a face mask and reportedly told a supporter not to come too close.

Prior to contracting the disease, the president was seen in public several times without a face mask - compulsory in Brasilia - even after a court ordered him to wear one last month.

On Saturday, Bolsonaro attended a lunch to mark US Independence Day at the country's embassy. A photo showed him there without a face mask.

Three prior tests

Bolsonaro has been tested on three occasions prior to this week's events. The government presented the results to the Supreme Court in May - all were negative - after a lawsuit was brought by newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.

The president has advocated opening up the economy despite the pandemic, saying economic hardship could ultimately cause more deaths.

He has shown reluctance to implement measures to stop the spread of the virus, watering down a law that would require widespread mask wearing in Brazil.

About 1.6 million coronavirus infections have been confirmed in the country of more than 200 million people, a number second only to the United States. Over 65,000 people have died.

The real figures are believed to be much higher, since relatively few people are tested for the disease.

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