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Brazilian President faces criticism for taking off mask after testing Covid-19 positive

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the risks of coronavirus, removed his face mask in front of reporters after admitting he had tested positive for Covid-19.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | Published: July 8, 2020 11:52:27 am
Bolsonaro revealed his face to claim he was doing well, but is being criticised online. (Source: Rappler/ Twitter)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro announced Tuesday that he has tested positive for Covid-19, after downplaying the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic for weeks even as deaths mounted in the nation. The Brazilian president announced he had tested positive while speaking with the Brazilian press, and took off his mask to show he was doing fine. The video of the incident is being widely shared on social media, with people criticising him for the gesture.

“I’m, well, normal. I even want to take a walk around here, but I can’t due to medical recommendations,” Bolsonaro said.

“I thought I had it before, given my very dynamic activity. I’m president and on the combat lines. I like to be in the middle of the people,” he said. “Everyone knew that it would reach a considerable part of the population sooner or later. It was positive for me,” he added.

Bolsonaro had often appeared in public to shake hands with supporters and mingle with crowds, at times without a mask. He has said that his history as an athlete would protect him from the virus and that it would be nothing more than a “little flu” if he were to contract it.

There have been multiple protests over his handling of the pandemic with Brazil having the second highest number of cases in the world, behind only the US.

After the president’s test results were made public, people criticised Bolsonaro on social media. Many were angry with his  handling of the situation in the country and some said it was “nothing but karma”.

Bolsonaro said he took the test, his fourth, on Monday after developing symptoms, including a high temperature.

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