Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus after claiming 'little flu' won't affect him
The Brazilian leader, who took the test for the 4th time has repeatedly downplayed the risks of the deadly virus because of his 'background as an athlete'
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Monday, July 6. Bolsonaro reportedly took the Covid-19 test on Monday after developing symptoms like a high fever. The Brazilian leader, who took the test for the fourth time, has repeatedly downplayed the risks posed by the deadly virus as he called it "a little flu" and had previously claimed that he would not be seriously affected by the virus.
Bolsonaro has also urged regional governors across the country to ease coronavirus-linked lockdown, and also diluted his own regulation on wearing face masks on Monday. The 65-year-old, in April, had stated that if he were to be infected with Covid-19, he would "not have to worry as I wouldn't feel anything, at most it would be like a little flue or a little cold." At the time he made his remarks, the number of coronavirus deaths in the country was still under 3,000. The Covid-19 toll in Brazil has now increased to 65,000 with over 1.6 million infections, making it the second-worst affected nation in the world after the United States as of Monday.
Bolsonaro recently accused the media of spreading paranoia about the virus and argued that regional lockdowns were having a more damaging effect than the virus itself, citing the country's economy. "Our lives have to go on," he had said. "Jobs must be kept … we must, yes, get back to normal. A small number of state and municipal authorities must abandon their scorched-earth ideas: the banning of public transport, the closing of commerce and mass confinement."
"What is happening around the world has shown that the at-risk group are those over 60 years," he continued. "So why close schools? … Ninety percent of us will show no sign (of infection) if we are infected. In my particular case, because of my background as an athlete, I wouldn’t need to worry if I was infected by the virus," he had added. "I wouldn’t feel anything or at the very worst it would be like a little flu or a bit of a cold."
The Brazilian president, somewhat similar to President Donald Trump's stance, has attended multiple public events without wearing face masks despite local laws requiring him to wear one. Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo, on July 5, had posted a photo of himself with Bolsonaro on social media attending an Independence Day celebration at the US embassy in Brasilia. None of the people in the photo appeared to wear masks or adhere to social distancing.