- Bolsonaro tested positive just three days after he had lunch at the home of the US ambassador to Brazil, Chapman Todd.
- The 65 year-old began feeling unwell on Sunday, and the situation is said to have worsened on Monday.
- President Bolsonaro has continually downplayed the virus
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for COVID-19. The president gave the announcement live on television. “It came back positive,” President Bolsonaro said. “There’s no reason for fear. That’s life,” he added. “Life goes on. I thank God for my life and the role I’ve been given to decide the future of this great nation that is called Brazil.”
Bolsonaro tested positive just three days after he had lunch at the home of the US ambassador to Brazil, Chapman Todd. He had earlier posted photos he took during the luncheon on social media. He did not have a mask on. Bolsonaro has, however, insisted that he is fine.
“Just look at my face. I’m well, fine, I thank God…Thanks to all those who have been praying for me…and to those who criticize me, no problem, carry on criticizing as much as you like,” the president said at the end of the address after he had removed his mask.
The 65 year-old began feeling unwell on Sunday, and the situation is said to have worsened on Monday. He had stated that he would test for the disease after having an x-ray of his lungs on Monday. In May, the country’s Supreme Court published documents that showed that Bolsonaro tested negative thrice in March after meeting with the US president, Donald Trump, in Florida.
President Bolsonaro has continually downplayed the virus. He compared it to a “little flu” on March 24. He also said that Brazilians were immune to the virus, and because they had already been infected, they had antibodies that could fight the virus. Despite this, the numbers of infections continue to rise.
The President had received criticism from across the political divide for dismissing the threat of the virus in the country. The political leaders in the country said that it was irresponsible for Bolsonaro to have participated in anti-lockdown protests. The President had on a number of occasions been seen in public without wearing a mask.
In May, he posted a video on his Facebook account where he did not wear a mask, and was seen shaking hands and waving at the crowd. The president has always been against the quarantine and stay at home measures, and has dismissed the fact that social distancing could flatten the curve.
The president has also, on several occasions, clashed with a number mayors and governors on lockdown measures. “From the looks of it, from what we’re going to see now, this effort to flatten the curve was practically useless ,” he said on Facebook. “Now, the collateral damage from all this will be unemployment.”
Brazil has recorded 65,631 deaths and more than 1.6 million cases of coronavirus, and is ranked second globally after the US. However, experts have argued that the numbers could be higher. During the global pandemic, the country has lost two health ministers.
Nelson Tiech resigned after being in office for less than a month. He took over office after Luiz Henrique Mandetta was fired on April 26. The president had criticized him publicly for urging people to observe social distance and to stay at home. Mandetta, a popular minister had criticized the president for downplaying the virus.