Brazil Prez Bolsonaro Contracts COVID; PM Wishes Speedy Recovery

Even after testing positive, he removed his mask while talking to the media, insisting he was feeling “good, calm.”

2 min read
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, 65, on Tuesday, 7 July, announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19, reported news agency AFP.

A day later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished for his speedy recovery.

Bolsonaro has long been in controversy for playing down the risks of COVID-19. He has flouted health guidelines, been in the public without a mask and raked up a political storm in Brazil last month after he had reportedly said that he was sorry for the dead, “but that’s everyone’s destiny”.

Even after testing positive, he removed his mask while talking to the media, AFP added.

Brazil is the second worst-hit country by the coronavirus crisis, next only to the United States.

Bolsonaro Got His 4th COVID-19 Test on 6 July

The Brazil president 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).

According to The Huffington Post, Bolsonaro said he had tested positive for the virus but his lungs were ‘clean’. In a video he insisted he was feeling "good, calm" and took off his face mask in front of journalists to emphasise the point. This was his fourth test for COVID-19.

Bolsonaro was tested thrice for the virus in March after meeting with US President Donald Trump; all three tests had come out negative.

As of 7 July, Brazil had 1.63 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 with over 65,000 people reported dead due to the virus.


What Has Bolsonaro Previously Said?

The executive director of the World Health Organisation, Dr Mike Ryan, wished President Bolsonaro "a speedy and full recovery from this disease", adding, "I think the message to us all is: we are vulnerable to this virus," BBC reported.

Back in April, Bolsonaro had said that even if he would get infected he would "not have to worry as I wouldn't feel anything, at most it would be like a little flu or a little cold."

Here are some of his comments on the coronavirus pandemic, as collated by BBC:

  • 11 March: “From what I have seen until now, there are other kinds of flu which have killed more people than that [coronavirus] one.”
  • 18 March: “Today we have information, that because we have a more tropical climate [in Brazil] we've almost reached the end [of the pandemic], or it's already over... the virus doesn't spread as fast in warm climates like ours.”
  • 20 March: “After being stabbed, I'm not going to be brought down by a little flu.”

He has also been slammed for attending public events without a mask. Now he is amongst the nearly 1.63 million people in Brazil to have contracted COVID-19.

(With inputs from AFP, BBC and The Huffington Post.)

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