Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for coronavirus, he revealed today.
Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly played down the severity of the virus and mingled with crowds of supporters in spite of social distancing advice, said in a TV interview that his fourth coronavirus test had come back positive.
‘I’m well, normal. I even want to take a walk around here, but I can’t due to medical recommendations,’ Bolsonaro said – insisting he had only mild symptoms.
The far-right president told supporters yesterday that he had been tested at a hospital and that an X-ray showed his lungs were ‘clean’.
Brazil has suffered one of the world’s worst outbreaks with more than 1.6million cases and 65,487 deaths, both figures second only to the United States.
Bolsonaro tested negative three times in March after meeting with US president Donald Trump in Florida.
Multiple members of his delegation to the United States were later reported to be infected with the virus, but neither Bolsonaro nor Trump tested positive.
On Monday, Bolsonaro told supporters in Brasilia that he underwent an X-ray of his lungs that showed they were clean, and that he would be tested for Covid-19.
‘I can’t get very close,’ he said in comments recorded by Foco do Brasil. ‘I came from the hospital. I underwent a lung scan. The lung’s clean.’
The president’s office said in a statement that the president is at his home and is ‘in good health.’ Today he told CNN Brasil that his fever had subsided despite his positive test result.
The populist leader has often defied local guidelines to wear a mask in public, even after a judge ordered him to do so in late June.
Over the weekend, the Brazilian leader celebrated America’s Independence Day with the US ambassador, throwing his arm around him alongside ministers and aides.
The US embassy said that Ambassador Todd Chapman is not showing any COVID-19 symptoms but would be tested.
The president’s official events on Tuesday have been cancelled, Brazilian media says.