Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he on Tuesday tested positive for the novel corona virus after months minimising the severity of the pandemic and defying medical experts, even as the virus killed more than 65,000 people in his country.
Bolsonaro revealed the bad news on Tuesday while addressing reporters at his official residence. He was seen standing just inches away from reporterd.
The 65-year-old President Bolsonaro, also former army captain dismissed the dangers of the virus and credited unproven treatments for his mild symptoms, echoing his political role model U.S. President Donald Trump.
“If it weren’t for the test, I wouldn’t know the result. And it turned out positive,” said President Bolsonaro.
He said he had started to feel sick on Sunday and grown worse on Monday, with a fever, muscle pains and exhaustion.
The president reknown for his defiance towards COVID-19 existence and medication revealed that he was taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug with unproven effectiveness against COVID-19.
Hydroxychloroquine has been touted by Trump and some of his supporters and pro-government factions in Brazil as a potential cure.
Immediately after the media interview, Bolsonaro stepped back and removed his mask to reveal a smile, adding: “You can see from my face that I’m well and I’m calm.”
Bolsonare like Trump, has blasted experts at the World Health Organization and voiced skepticism about the virulence of the virus, although the U.S. president has moderated his tone.
He claimed that the risks of COVID-19 were exaggerated in Brazil appealing to country citizens not to worry.
“You did not need to worry, “Be assured that for you the chance of something more serious is close to zero.” He said.
Bolsonaro said that he shall be operating at home via video video coverage..
Brazil has over 1.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases but the government has done less towards fighting this deadly enemy. This ha prompted many criticize public health experts as he fought state and city efforts to impose social distancing, arguing that the economic damage would be worse than the disease itself.
Bolsonaro joins a short list of government leaders infected with the coronavirus, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, both of whom were treated in hospitals and needed extra oxygen.