Brazil First Lady Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the first lady Michelle Bolsonaro attend the launch of the Rural Women’s Rights program at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on July 29, 2020. EVARISTO SA / AFP



Brazil’s first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, tested positive for the new coronavirus Thursday, the government said, after her husband spent two weeks in quarantine with it.

The announcement came five days after President Jair Bolsonaro said he was over his illness and resumed his normal work routine.

Michelle Bolsonaro, 38, “is in good health and will follow all established protocols,” the president’s office said.

“The first lady is being treated by the presidential medical team,” it added.


File photo: Brazilian Davi da Silva Alves, 39, resident of the Divino Espirito Santo community of the Pacaja River, who suffers from COVID-19 symptoms, is seen on a helicopter-ambulance to be transported from Breves, Para state, Brazil, to the Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital in Belem, the state’s capital, on June 8, 2020. TARSO SARRAF / AFP.


Bolsonaro, 65, has faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic as Brazil has surged to become the country with the second-highest number of infections and deaths in the world, after the United States: more than 2.5 million and 90,000, respectively.

The far-right president, who has compared the virus to a “little flu,” has fought to end state and local stay-at-home measures to contain it, arguing the economic fallout could be worse than the disease itself.


File photo: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks on a mobile phone next to an emu outside the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on July 13, 2020, in the midst of the new COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.(Photo by Sergio LIMA / AFP)


He is instead pushing the drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, and took it himself when he was infected, despite numerous studies finding it has no benefit against COVID-19 and can cause serious side effects.

Bolsonaro regularly flouted social distancing guidelines before his diagnosis, hugging and shaking hands with supporters at rallies.

After he came down with a fever and tested positive for the virus on July 7, he spent two weeks in quarantine in the presidential palace, holding meetings remotely.

Michelle Bolsonaro had announced on July 11 that she and her two daughters tested negative for the virus.

Bolsonaro said Saturday he was recovered and had received a negative test result.

On Thursday, in his first public event since his illness, he greeted a crowd of supporters in the northeastern state of Piaui, removing his face mask at several points.

Five of Bolsonaro’s ministers have also tested positive for the virus. The latest came Thursday: Science and Technology Minister Marcos Pontes.


Emmanuel Egobiambu

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