Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday tested positive for Covid-19.
He confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and speaking to reporters in capital Brasilia. “I’m well, normal. I even want to take a walk around here, but I can’t due to medical recommendationS,” Bolsonaro said as quoted by AP.
According to a statement from the presidency, Bolsonaro took the test on Monday evening. Local media had reported that he had symptoms of the coronavirus, such as a fever.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly played down the impact of the virus, even as Brazil has suffered one of the world’s worst outbreaks, with more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and 65,000 related deaths, according to official data on Monday. He has also repeatedly said that there is no way to prevent 70 per cent of the population falling ill with COVID-19, and that local authorities’ measures to shut down economic activity would ultimately cause more hardship than allowing the virus to run its course.
Brazil, the world’s sixth most populous nation, with more than 210 million people, is one of the global hot spots of the pandemic.
Over the weekend, the Brazilian leader celebrated the US Independence Day with the nation’s ambassador to Brazil, then shared pictures on social media showing him with his arm around the ambassador alongside several ministers and aides. None wore masks, despite being in close quarters.
Bolsonaro, earlier, tested negative thrice for the coronavirus after several aides were diagnosed following a visit to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida, estate in March.