Fear Mounts Brazil As President Bolsonaro Contracts COVID-19

Fear Mounts Brazil As President Bolsonaro Contracts COVID-19

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Brazil: In late June, media reported that president Bolsonaro might have contracted the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) after he was captured without a protective mask at public gatherings.

According to the local media reports, Mr. Bolsonaro, 65, had a fever above 100 degrees and had begun taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria pill he has promoted as effective to treat the virus.

Even as several of Mr. Bolsonaro’s aides have tested positive for the virus in recent months, the president has often eschewed precautions such as mask wearing and social distancing. Most recently, he attended a luncheon on Saturday hosted by the American ambassador in Brazil to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.

A photo taken during the lunch and posted on Twitter by Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo shows the president sitting next to the United States Ambassador to Brazil, Todd Chapman, giving a thumbs-up sign at a table decorated for the holiday. Neither was wearing a mask.

A photo twitted by shows the president sitting next to the USA Ambassador without masks.

Late Monday, the president’s office said Mr. Bolsonaro’s test results were expected on Tuesday. “The president, at this time, is in good health and remains at his residence,” the statement said.

Also on Monday night, the U.S. embassy signaled concern that the ambassador might have been exposed to the virus, saying that Mr. Chapman does not have any symptoms but intends to get tested and “is taking the proper precautions,” including following contact tracing protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control.

“Our two governments have continuous communication, including on this matter,” the embassy statement said. “We wish President Bolsonaro a prompt recovery.”

While he awaits the test results, Mr. Bolsonaro cleared his schedule on Tuesday, according to several Brazilian press reports.

When he returned to the presidential palace on Monday evening, Mr. Bolsonaro told his supporters that he had just returned from the hospital where he did a lung check and assured that everything is “okay”.

Mr. Bolsonaro has come under criticism for his cavalier handling of the pandemic, even as Brazil’s caseload and death toll ballooned in recent months.

Brazil’s more than 1.6 million cases and more than 65,000 deaths make it the second hardest-hit country by the pandemic, trailing only the United States.

Even so, Mr. Bolsonaro has called the quarantines imposed by Brazilian states unjustifiably damaging to the economy. And he has often ventured out in public without wearing a mask, in violation of a mandatory rule in the capital.

A federal judge last month issued an order calling on the president to wear a mask in public. Since then, the president has more consistently worn a mask when he is outdoors.

Several senior officials in the Bolsonaro administration tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from a trip to Florida in early March.

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