On Tuesday June 7 2020, the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro announced that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) but said he was feeling “perfectly well” and had only mild symptoms.
The 65-year-old leader has caused huge controversy in Brazil for repeatedly flouting containment measures and minimizing the risk of the virus, which has killed 65,000 people in the South American giant and infected 1.6 million.
The test “has come out and it’s positive,” Bolsonaro said in a television interview from his residence in capital Brasilia, adding that he was taking hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to treat the illness.
Bolsonaro who had been declared negative three times previously, said he started feeling unwell on Sunday and got worse on Monday, feeling “tiredness, illness and a fever of 38 degrees” Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit). But he insisted he was feeling “good, calm” and took off his face mask to emphasize the point.
“Life goes on. We’re going to take care, particularly of old people and those with illnesses that are a risk factor,” he added before repeating his mantra that the “collateral effects” of the virus should not be worse than the illness itself.
On Monday, he announced he had taken a test and told CNN Brazil that he underwent an X-ray of his lungs at a military hospital as a precaution. Local media said he had cleared his schedule for the week.
Since the beginning of the virus outbreak, Bolsonaro has minimized the risks of what he initially called “a little flu” and flouted social distancing rules and containment measures, such as wearing a mask in public. Brazil is the second worst-hit country in the world by the pandemic after the United States.
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