Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly doubted the severity of the virus because it first discovered a foothold in Brazil, reportedly in late February. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images cover caption

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Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly doubted the severity of the virus because it first discovered a foothold in Brazil, reportedly in late February.

Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Updated at 4:54 p.m. ET

Jair Bolsonaro has examined optimistic for the coronavirus.

The Brazilian president, who has persistently downplayed the risks of the virus, revealed his optimistic check end result throughout nationally televised remarks Tuesday. “It came back positive,” he advised reporters from behind a masks.

He is simply the second main world chief, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to verify he contracted the virus.

With greater than 1.6 million confirmed instances as of Tuesday, Brazil is within the throes of the world’s second-largest outbreak, behind solely the U.S. More than 65,000 individuals there have died of problems linked to COVID-19 — a towering demise toll that once more stands second solely to that of the U.S. And due to a big lag in testing, Brazilian researchers imagine the actual numbers are much, much higher than the official tallies.

Yet Bolsonaro, 65, has repeatedly doubted the severity of the virus because it first discovered a foothold in Brazil, reportedly in late February. A key ally of President Trump, the right-wing Brazilian chief has known as the coronavirus “a little flu,” accused the media of hysteria and campaigned against the shutdowns applied by native leaders.

“I’m sorry,” Bolsonaro said in April, after the nation’s demise toll reached 5,000, “but what do you want me to do about it?”

Tens of 1000’s of deaths later, Bolsonaro has remained firmly supportive of reopening and skeptical of social distancing, each for others and himself.

Last week, he vetoed legislation that might have mandated using face masks in colleges, church buildings and companies. During a luncheon hosted final Saturday by the U.S. ambassador in Brazil, Bolsonaro was photographed embracing his overseas affairs minister, flashing a smile and a thumbs-up.

The American ambassador, Todd Chapman, was seated on the opposite aspect of the president. Bolsonaro, Chapman and all the different males within the picture weren’t carrying masks. The embassy said Tuesday that the ambassador had examined destructive however is staying at dwelling in quarantine.

It’s not the primary private run-in with the virus for Bolsonaro, who took workplace in early 2019.

The Brazilian chief says he has taken a number of checks, all of which got here again destructive earlier than Tuesday’s end result. During one such scare — in March, after a visit to Florida to go to Trump — a number of members of Bolsonaro’s delegation examined optimistic.

On Sunday, Bolsonaro says, he started experiencing signs equivalent to fatigue, muscle ache and fever. He revealed to reporters Monday night time that he had taken a coronavirus check and was awaiting outcomes, including that docs had additionally taken a scan of his lungs that had come again “clean.”

On Tuesday, he stated his medical staff is now treating him, amongst different issues, with hydroxychloroquine, the controversial anti-malaria drug that each he and Trump have touted as a method to stop and deal with COVID-19. Trump himself even declared that he had taken the drug to keep at bay the virus, regardless of the Food and Drug Administration’s warnings against its use for that function.

And as soon as extra, Bolsonaro urged Brazilians to not fear in regards to the public well being disaster that has been surging across the country in current weeks. Now affected by the early levels of the virus himself, he maintained that there’s nothing to fret about.

“The fact I’ve been infected shows I’m a human like anyone else,” he advised reporters. There’s no must panic, he added. It’s time to get again to work.

NPR’s Philip Reeves contributed to this report.

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