Brazil President Discharged From Hospital

A hand out picture released by Brazilian presidency press office shows Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaking at the G20 Heads of State Meeting that this year was held by video conference, from Planalto Palace in Brasilia on November 21, 2020. MARCOS CORREA / BRAZILIAN PRESIDENCY / AFP

 

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro was discharged from hospital on Sunday having spent four days receiving treatment for an intestinal obstruction.

The far right leader was originally taken to a military hospital in the capital Brasilia on Wednesday after suffering persistent hiccups that had lasted around 10 days.

Later that day he was transferred to the private Vila Nova Star hospital in Sao Paulo.

“I had to go on a diet, I did what I had to do. I wanted to leave from day one, but they wouldn’t let me. I hope that in about 10 days I will be able to eat a rib eye steak,” Bolsonaro told reporters as he left the hospital.

“It seems that my stomach was on fire. The cause was an intestinal obstruction, which is common in those like me that have undergone surgery, after the stabbing,” said Bolsonaro, who spoke to journalist for half an hour.

There had been fears Bolsonaro, 66, might need surgery to clear the obstruction, although that was quickly ruled out.

He has undergone surgery six times since he was stabbed in the abdomen in 2018 on the campaign trail.

On Thursday the hospital had said he was “evolving satisfactorily” while his legislator son, Eduardo Bolsonaro said doctors had removed “close to one liter (a quarter of a gallon) of liquid” from the president’s stomach that was caused by the obstruction, considerably alleviating the pain.

While in hospital, Bolsonaro continued to work and was very active on social media, publishing photos and commenting on political subjects.

Because of his abdominal problems, Bolsonaro has been told to “chew food well, eat lighter meals, exercise, walk,” head of the medical team at the hospital, Antonio Macedo said on Saturday.

Bolsonaro’s health scare came at a difficult time for the president who last week saw his disapproval rating climb to an all-time high.

The Senate has also launched an investigation over his handling of the pandemic, the seriousness of which he repeatedly downplayed and which has cost almost 540,000 lives in Brazil. The investigation was extended by 90 days on Wednesday.

Bolsonaro, who contracted Covid-19 last year, is also being investigated by the public prosecutor for allegedly failing to act on an embezzlement tip-off regarding coronavirus vaccine purchases.

The opposition is pushing for the president of the chamber of deputies to open impeachment proceedings against Bolsonaro.

AFP

Brazilian President ‘Evolving Satisfactorily’ After Hospitalisation

File photo: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends the changing of the guard ceremony at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on July 31, 2019./AFP

 

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro was making satisfactory progress on Thursday according to the hospital where he is receiving treatment for a blocked intestine.

Far right leader Bolsonaro was taken to a military hospital in the capital Brasilia on Wednesday after suffering persistent hiccups and abdominal pain for around 10 days.

The 66-year-old was later transferred by a Brazilian Air Force airplane to the Vila Nova Star private hospital in Sao Paulo for further tests to determine whether or not he would need to undergo surgery.

The hospital decided on Wednesday to begin with a “conservative clinical treatment.”

It said in a statement Thursday Bolsonaro remained in its care and was “evolving satisfactorily.”

“The previously established treatment plan remains in place. The president will remain with no discharge scheduled,” the hospital added.

There are no plans to operate but should the hospital change its mind, it would be the president’s seventh surgery since he was stabbed in the abdomen in 2018 on the campaign trail.

READ ALSO: French Father Goes On Hunger Strike For Kids ‘Abducted’ By Japanese Wife

His legislator son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, said in a video published to Telegram that doctors had removed “close to one liter (a quarter of a gallon) of liquid” from the president’s stomach that was caused by the obstruction, considerably alleviating the pain.

Another son, senator Flavio Bolsonaro, said his father had been “intubated as a precaution” when he was taken to the hospital in Brasilia.

His admission to hospital came at a difficult time for Bolsonaro who last week saw his disapproval rating climb to an all-time high.

The Senate has also launched an investigation over his handling of the pandemic, the seriousness of which he repeatedly downplayed and which has cost almost 540,000 lives in Brazil. The investigation was extended by 90 days on Wednesday.

Bolsonaro, who contracted Covid-19 last year, is also being investigated by the public prosecutor for allegedly failing to act on an embezzlement tip-off regarding coronavirus vaccine purchases.

The opposition is pushing for the president of the chamber of deputies to open impeachment proceedings against Bolsonaro.

AFP

Brazil’s President, Bolsonaro Says He Won’t Take COVID-19 Vaccine

A hand out picture released by Brazilian presidency press office shows Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaking at the G20 Heads of State Meeting that this year was held by video conference, from Planalto Palace in Brasilia on November 21, 2020. 
MARCOS CORREA / BRAZILIAN PRESIDENCY / AFP

 

Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro has said he will not take a vaccine against the coronavirus even after it receives approval from his own government.

“I’m telling you, I won’t take it (the vaccine),” he said in a video posted to social media on Thursday. “It is my right.”

Brazil has recorded over 170,000 coronavirus deaths, according to an AFP tally, behind only the United States.

Bolsonaro faces criticism for his handling of the pandemic, which has included playing down the virus, opposing lockdown measures and relentlessly promoting the drug hydroxychloroquine despite studies showing it is ineffective against Covid-19.

He caught Covid-19 himself at the beginning of July, and more than half of his cabinet have tested positive for the virus in recent months.

 

READ ALSO: India’s Pharmaceutical Giant To Make 100 Million Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccines

 

Once any treatment is approved by Brazil’s health regulatory authorities, his government will “immediately organize” its purchase and distribution to those who want it, he said in the video.

But he added he was “sure” that Brazil’s parliament would not make immunisation mandatory.

Many nations are pinning their hopes on a vaccine to end the misery of the pandemic, with two jabs on the cusp of approval by authorities after showing about 95 percent efficacy in trials.

On Wednesday, US-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer gave the results of the tests of their candidate to the office of Brazil’s health regulators, a necessary step to approve and register the vaccine.

Brazil’s health ministry has already agreed to buy 100 million doses of a different vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

-AFP

Bolsonaro Faces Growing Pressure To Green Brazil Economy

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 18, 2020 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures using a face cover during a press conference regarding the COVID-19, coronavirus pandemic at the Planalto Palace, Brasilia. – Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro announced on July 7, 2020 he had tested positive for the coronavirus but said he was feeling “perfectly well” and had only mild symptoms. (Photo by Sergio LIMA / AFP)

 

 

As the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and Pantanal wetlands bruise Brazil’s international image, bankers, business executives and even agribusiness firms are calling for a greener economy, adding to pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, a far-right climate-change skeptic, has called environmental groups a “cancer” for attacking his policies, which include pushing for protected lands to be opened to mining and agriculture in the world’s biggest rainforest.

But he has been forced to respond more cautiously as international investors, powerful voices in the business world, and agribusiness giants such as JBS and Cargill have joined in the criticism.

In keeping with tradition, the Brazilian leader will give the first speech to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, delivered remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, Bolsonaro used the forum to condemn news on the fires ravaging the world’s biggest rainforest as “media lies.”

This year’s speech will again touch on the Amazon, though the goal will be “to show everything we’re doing” to protect it, said Vice President Hamilton Mourao, the head of the government’s task force on fighting Amazon deforestation.

With countries around the world trying to chart the future of their post-pandemic economies — not least Brazil, the country with the second-highest Covid-19 death toll after the United States — now is the perfect time for Latin America’s biggest economy to go green, said Paulo Branco, head of the Development Frontiers Institute.

“We have a great window of opportunity, and we have to take advantage of it to push for a sustainable reboot of the economy,” he told AFP.

“With our huge green potential, an ‘agri-environmental’ agenda is the way to a faster recovery,” said Marcello Brito, of the Brazil Climate, Forests and Agriculture Coalition.

His group, an unprecedented alliance of 230 environmental groups and Brazilian agribusiness companies, sent an open letter last week to Bolsonaro urging him to do more to fight deforestation in the Amazon.

In June, 29 global investment firms managing nearly $4 trillion in assets also sent an open letter to Bolsonaro, urging him to change policies blamed for accelerating the destruction of the rainforest.

Environmental destruction by Brazilian firms is also threatening a long-sought trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur bloc, of which Brazil is a member.

So far, the president has continued to publicly deny the impact of the record Amazon deforestation on his watch.

“Brazil is the country that does the most to preserve the environment,” he said last week, even as record-shattering fires tore through the Pantanal, the world’s biggest tropical wetlands, and deforestation in the Amazon for January to August came in just five percent shy of last year’s all-time high.

But there are signs he is starting to feel the pressure — including naming the Amazon task force headed by Vice President Mourao and deploying the army to the rainforest to fight wildfires.

– Redirecting investment –
“It’s unfortunate that the environment issue has become so ideological,” said Shigueo Watanabe, a researcher at the ClimaInfo Institute.

“I don’t defend the environment just because I like trees. I do it because I want the country’s economy to grow, and to do that you need agribusiness,” he said.

“If we destroy the Amazon, we’ll destroy Brazilian agribusiness,” he added, referring to the devastating climate impact that scientists say the collapse of the rainforest ecosystem would cause across the region and the world.

Greening the Brazilian economy could create two million jobs and add 2.8 trillion reals ($530 billion) to gross domestic product by 2030, according to a recent report by the World Resources Institute.

“Brazil would actually grow more with a green recovery than under its current development model,” said the institute’s Viviane Romeiro.

“It doesn’t mean a total break with the past…. It’s about redirecting investment and expanding best practices in the infrastructure, agriculture and industrial innovation sectors.”

It is an issue that will increasingly touch all sectors of the economy.

“Companies will no longer make big profits with no regard for their environmental impact,” said Denise Hills, global head of sustainability at Brazilian cosmetics giant Natura, a trailblazer in the field.

“This is an essential issue to the new generation of consumers.”

Brazil First Lady Tests Positive For Coronavirus

brazil-president-wife
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.

AFP

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Tests Negative For COVID-19

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (C) walks towards supporters in the garden of the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, on July 22, 2020. EVARISTO SA / AFP
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (C) walks towards supporters in the garden of the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, on July 22, 2020. EVARISTO SA / AFP

 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Saturday he has tested negative for the new coronavirus more than two weeks after being diagnosed on July 7, attributing his recovery to an unproven malaria drug.

“RT-PCR for Sars-Cov 2: negative. Good morning everyone,” the 65-year-old tweeted, along with a photo of himself smiling and holding a packet of hydroxychloroquine, whose effectiveness against COVID-19 has not been demonstrated in clinical trials.

He did not say when he took the latest test.

Later, local media reported that he took a motorcycle ride through Brasilia and visited some shops, with small crowds gathering around him.

“I didn’t feel anything, not even in the beginning. If I hadn’t taken the test, I wouldn’t have known I had the virus,” he told them, according to videos played in the media.

The president, who has routinely downplayed the virus he calls a “little flu” but which is currently ravaging his country, spent nearly 20 days self-isolating at his official residence in the capital Brasilia, the Alvorada Palace.

During that time he underwent at least three more virus tests, all positive.

Three polls released this week showed the leader dubbed a “Tropical Trump” would win re-election in 2022, despite his controversial handling of the virus crisis.

The pandemic has exploded in Brazil, the country with the most infections and deaths from COVID-19 anywhere in the world except the United States.

The Latin American powerhouse has registered nearly 2.3 million cases of the new coronavirus and more than 84,000 deaths, and the numbers have continued to rise rapidly.

But Bolsonaro is a fierce critic of stay-at-home measures, arguing the economic pain they result in is worse than the virus itself.

The president has appeared to continue flouting virus precautions even after his diagnosis.

On Thursday he was seen going for a spin on his motorcycle and chatting maskless with a team of groundskeepers outside the presidential palace.

The same day he admitted in a live Facebook video that he was feeling “a bit wretched at being imprisoned here.”

Bolsonaro also continued greeting supporters from quarantine, separated by a narrow reflecting pond but maskless.

And he was spotted in the palace gardens feeding — and occasionally getting bitten by — rheas, a large South American bird related to the emu.

 

AFP

Bolsonaro’s Poll Numbers Rise In Brazil Despite COVID-19 Woes

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (C) walks towards supporters in the garden of the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, on July 22, 2020. EVARISTO SA / AFP
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (C) walks towards supporters in the garden of the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, on July 22, 2020. EVARISTO SA / AFP

 

Three polls released this week show gains for President Jair Bolsonaro, putting him as favorite to win re-election in 2022 despite his controversial handling of Brazil’s raging coronavirus crisis.

The far-right leader, who is himself currently infected with the virus, has downplayed the pandemic even as it has exploded in Brazil, the country with the most infections and deaths from COVID-19 anywhere in the world except the United States.

But this week’s polls suggest the man dubbed the “Tropical Trump” is weathering the crisis relatively well.

The latest, published Friday by news magazine Veja, puts the far-right leader comfortably ahead in the first round of the presidential election, with 27.5 to 30.7 percent of the vote, depending on his opponents.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures as he speaks to supporters outside Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, on July 22, 2020. EVARISTO SA / AFP
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures as he speaks to supporters outside Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, on July 22, 2020. EVARISTO SA / AFP

 

Bolsonaro would easily win the second round against any opponent, even his popular ex-justice minister turned nemesis, Sergio Moro, or leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the poll found.

A poll published Thursday by news site Poder360 meanwhile put Bolsonaro’s approval rating at 43 percent, up from 40 percent two weeks ago.

His disapproval rating fell one point, to 46 percent, it found.

Poder360 said the president’s approval rating was 52 percent among beneficiaries of the government’s monthly coronavirus emergency relief checks of 600 reals ($115), which aim to help poor Brazilians suffering the economic impact of coronavirus stay-at-home measures.

Bolsonaro is a fierce critic of those measures, arguing the economic pain is worse than the virus itself.

Brazil has registered nearly 2.3 million cases of the new coronavirus and more than 84,000 deaths, and the numbers continue rising rapidly.

Another poll, published Monday by brokerage firm XP Investimentos, put Bolsonaro’s approval rating at 30 percent, up from 25 percent in May.

It put his disapproval rating at 45 percent, down from 50 percent in May.

 

AFP

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Tests Positive For Coronavirus Again

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. - Bolsonaro tested positive for the coronavirus on July 7, after months minimizing the dangers of the disease. (Photo by Sergio LIMA / AFP)
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. – Bolsonaro tested positive for the coronavirus on July 7, after months minimizing the dangers of the disease. (Photo by Sergio LIMA / AFP)

 

 

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro announced Wednesday that he still has the coronavirus, after undergoing a new test the day before.

“I’m fine, thank God. Yesterday morning, I took the test, and in the evening the result was that I am still positive for the coronavirus,” the far-right leader said in a Facebook Live broadcast from the gardens of his official residence in Brasilia.

Bolsonaro said he is not experiencing symptoms and that his use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which he said he has been taking since he was diagnosed last week, is working.

“I am not recommending anything. I recommend that you talk to your doctor. In my case, a military doctor recommended hydroxychloroquine, and it worked,” he said.

The presidential press office said in a brief statement that Bolsonaro, who at 65 is in a high-risk group, will remain in quarantine at the official Alvorada Palace residence, where he will continue to work by video conference.

The far-right president, who has caused huge controversy in Brazil for repeatedly flouting lockdown measures in place to curb the spread of the virus, first tested positive a week ago.

He admitted on Monday by telephone interview with CNN that he “can’t stand this routine of staying at home” and said he was waiting “anxiously” to be given the all-clear to leave the house.

He told the television channel he hasn’t had any symptoms such as a fever or respiratory difficulties since July 6.

 

A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine. (AFP)
A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine. (AFP)

And he added that he continues to take the anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine.

The drug has been pushed as a treatment for COVID-19 in many countries — but its effectiveness has not been formally proven and the issue is deeply dividing the global scientific community.

He is due to take a new test “in the coming days.”

Since his diagnosis on July 7, Bolsonaro has been confined to the presidential palace alongside other people who have already contracted the virus.

It’s a far cry from his regular daily routine that includes leaving the residence to greet his supporters, often while ignoring social distancing measures and without wearing a face mask.

As well as taking part in video calls, Bolsonaro has been seen feeding rheas — a bird species native to South America that is related to the ostrich and emu — in the gardens of the official residence. One even pecked him.

 

An employee wearing protective gear disinfects a shopping mall as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Caxias do Sul, Brazil on May 13, 2020. SILVIO AVILA / AFP.

 

Brazil is the second worst-hit country in the world by the coronavirus after the United States, with more than 74,000 dead and 1.9 million cases.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Fed Up With Quarantine, To Take New Virus Test

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. - Bolsonaro tested positive for the coronavirus on July 7, after months minimizing the dangers of the disease. (Photo by Sergio LIMA / AFP)
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. – Bolsonaro tested positive for the coronavirus on July 7, after months minimizing the dangers of the disease. (Photo by Sergio LIMA / AFP)

 

 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been in quarantine nearly a week after testing positive for the new coronavirus, announced Monday he plans to take another test as he “can’t stand” being in isolation.

The result of the test, which is scheduled for Tuesday, “should be out in a few hours, and I will wait quite anxiously because I can’t stand this routine of staying at home. It’s horrible,” Bolsonaro said in a telephone interview with CNN Brazil, from his official residence at the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia.

Since the beginning of the crisis, the far-right president has dismissed the seriousness of the epidemic and criticized containment measures ordered by governors in Brazilian states.

During his interview, Bolsonaro said that he feels “very well” and has no fever or problems breathing. He also has not lost his sense of taste, one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19.

“Tomorrow, I don’t know if the new test will confirm (the virus), but if everything is fine, I’ll go back to work. Of course, if it’s the other way around, I’ll wait a few more days,” said the 65-year-old, adding he hoped to resume his activities within a week at most.

“Otherwise everything is fine. We are working by videoconference all the time and we are doing our best not to let things accumulate,” he said.

Brazil is the second-worst hit country in the world, after the United States. As of Monday, 72,833 people had died out of 1.8 million confirmed cases.

During his weekly Facebook Live post last Thursday, Bolsonaro said that after feeling unwell, he had started taking one hydroxychloroquine tablet every day.

The drug, originally tested to fight malaria, has been pushed as a treatment for COVID-19 in many countries — but its effectiveness has not been formally proven and the issue is deeply dividing the global scientific community.

“I took (hydroxychloroquine) and it worked, and I’m fine, thank God. And let those who criticize it at least offer an alternative,” he said during the Facebook Live.

 

 

-AFP

Bolsonaro Says He Feels ‘Very Well’, Praises Hydroxycholoroquine

A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine. (AFP)
A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine. (AFP)

 

 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has tested positive for COVID-19, said on Facebook Thursday that he was “very well” and again advocated the use of the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine. 

Bolsonaro, 65, appeared in his weekly Facebook Live post at his official residence. He appeared to be in good shape and was not accompanied, as is often the case, by ministers or senior officials, and the usual sign language interpreter was not present.

Since the beginning of the crisis, the far-right president has dismissed the seriousness of the epidemic and criticized containment measures ordered by governors in Brazilian states.

Bolsonaro said that after feeling unwell at the end of last week, he had started taking one hydroxychloroquine tablet every day.

The drug, originally tested to fight malaria, has been pushed as a treatment for COVID-19 in many countries — but its effectiveness has not been formally proven and the issue is deeply dividing the global scientific community.

“I’m saying this very clearly,” Bolsonaro said in his video.

“I took (hydroxychloroquine) and it worked, and I’m fine, thank God. And let those who criticize it at least offer an alternative.”

He did, however, deny making “propaganda for hydroxychloroquine”.

Brazil is currently the second country hardest-hit country in the world by the pandemic, behind the United States.

The death toll on Thursday was 69,184, with an increase of 1,224 in the previous 24 hours.

Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Tests Positive For COVID-19

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 18, 2020 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures using a face cover during a press conference regarding the COVID-19, coronavirus pandemic at the Planalto Palace, Brasilia. – Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro announced on July 7, 2020 he had tested positive for the coronavirus but said he was feeling “perfectly well” and had only mild symptoms. Sergio LIMA / AFP.

 

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Tuesday he had tested positive for the coronavirus but said he was feeling “perfectly well” and had only mild symptoms.

The far right leader has caused huge controversy in Brazil for repeatedly flouting containment measures and minimizing the risk of the virus, which has killed 65,000 people in the South American giant and infected 1.6 million.

The test “has come out and it’s positive,” Bolsonaro said in a television interview from his residence in capital Brasilia, adding that he was taking hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to treat the illness.

Hydroxychloroquine is a medication usually used to treat malaria and lupus, while azithromycin is an antibiotic that can be used to treat pneumonia.

Bolsonaro, 65, 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).

But he insisted he was feeling “good, calm” and took off his face mask to emphasize the point.

READ ALSO: Brazil To Become Testing Ground For COVID-19 Vaccine

“Life goes on. We’re going to take care, particularly of old people and those with illnesses that are a risk factor,” he added before repeating his mantra that the “collateral effects” of the virus should not be worse than the illness itself.

On Monday, he announced he had taken a test and told CNN Brazil that he underwent an X-ray of his lungs at a military hospital as a precaution.

Local media said he had cleared his schedule for the week.

Since the beginning of the virus outbreak, Bolsonaro has minimized the risks of what he initially called “a little flu” and flouted social distancing rules and containment measures, such as wearing a mask in public.

Brazil is the second worst-hit country in the world by the pandemic after the United States.

Bolsonaro had been tested three times previously — all came back negative.

On Monday, he watered down for a second time a law that would require citizens to wear face masks in public.

On Saturday, Bolsonaro published photos on social media in which he is not wearing a face mask at a lunch with the US ambassador and several ministers celebrating the July 4th holiday.

AFP

COVID-19: Brazil Education Minister Fined For Going Maskless

A supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro wears a face mask with Bolsonaro's image during a demonstration at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 7, 2020. CARL DE SOUZA / AFP
A supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro wears a face mask with Bolsonaro’s image during a demonstration at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 7, 2020.
CARL DE SOUZA / AFP

 

Brazil’s education minister has been fined for failing to wear a face mask at a rally for President Jair Bolsonaro, who has himself repeatedly flouted Brasilia’s masks-in-public rule amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Abraham Weintraub, one of the far-right president’s most controversial ministers, appeared at a rally organized by Bolsonaro supporters Sunday.

He shook hands and posed for pictures with demonstrators — many of whom also went without masks, which have been mandatory in public in the Brazilian capital since April.

That got him a 2,000-real ($385) fine from the Brasilia district government for being “caught in public without a protective mask,” according to Brazilian media, which ran photos of his fine slip.

Weintraub said on Twitter he had not yet been notified of the fine but that it appeared authentic.

“They’re trying to shut me up at any price,” he said.

Bolsonaro, who has likened the new coronavirus to a “little flu” and condemned the “hysteria” around it, also regularly goes without a mask at weekend rallies by his supporters, though he has not been fined so far.

Weintraub has repeatedly been embroiled in controversy, making anti-Chinese comments that were widely deemed racist, misspelling words in official documents and on Twitter, and recently saying the Supreme Court’s justices are “criminals” and should be “thrown in jail.”

He alluded to that comment again Sunday, telling demonstrators: “I’ve already said my piece on what I’d do with those criminals.”

As coronavirus has surged in Brazil, which now has the second-highest death toll worldwide after the United States, tension has been mounting between Bolsonaro and both state authorities and the legislative and judicial branches of government.

The Brasilia government had banned last weekend’s rallies on grounds of fighting the spread of coronavirus.

On Saturday, after police broke up a protest camp by one group of hardcore Bolsonaro supporters, the activists tried to storm the Supreme Court building, then shot fireworks at it.

On Monday, authorities arrested six far-right activists for “anti-democratic acts.” The arrests were ordered by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes.

Chief Justice Jose Antonio Dias Toffoli called the fireworks shot at the Supreme Court an “attack” and said in a statement he would not accept threats against the court.