Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, 65, one of the world's most skeptical about the severity of the coronavirus, reported Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19 and began treatment with chloroquine. "It started Sunday with a brief indisposition," he told reporters at his official residence, who said he now feels "perfectly fine," to the point that he reported the test result by talking to reporters less than two meters away, albeit with the prescribed mask.
Over the past few months, Bolsonaro has defied the virus, which he even described as "a little crack", almost daily, by walking the streets in the middle of a quarantine, attending public events without the obligatory mask, hugging and kissing supporters without any care and with constant disdain for the disease. "I confess that I thought I had contracted it a few months ago," but "I did not expect this to have happened with me," explained Bolsonaro, who has cancelled his schedule for the next few days and will remain in quarantine at home, although he clarified that he does not know "how to stand", so he will continue to dispatch by video conference.
This past weekend, he visited the state of Santa Catarina and on his return to Brasilia he visited the U.S. ambassador, Todd Chapman, to celebrate the country's Independence Day with Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo and others. They all posed for photos, without masks, and were shown around a table without any protection, which has led the diplomat to also undergo a coronavirus test, sources at the U.S. embassy confirmed to Efe. Unlike Bolsonaro, Chapman has not shown any symptoms of illness, but will undergo preventive testing. Also, all the ministers who have been with the president in recent days and his family, who since last week have been concerned about the health of a grandmother of Bolsonaro's wife, 80 years old and hospitalized with COVID-19, have been tested.
Spokespersons for the Presidency confirmed to Efe that Bolsonaro has taken two doses of chloroquine since Monday, an anti-malarial that, in his opinion, is completely effective in the treatment of the coronavirus, despite the fact that science has not proven it and encourages very serious doubts.
On Tuesday, the leader of the Brazilian far-right approached a group of supporters at the door of his official residence and revealed that he had symptoms of flu, but had decided to undergo a test to rule out COVID-19. "I've come from the hospital now, I've had my lung X-rayed and it's clean. I'm going to do a COVID-19 test soon, but everything is fine," said Bolsonaro, who according to sources consulted by Efe had felt muscle pains and had a fever of up to 38 degrees.
In announcing the positive results of the test, he said that while it is necessary to "worry about the virus," it is also necessary to "take care of the economy" and to resume productive activities as soon as possible, because "unemployment also kills".