Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro greets supporters despite being COVID-19 positive
Bolsonaro was closely flanked by a number of aides who did not appear to consistently maintain a significant social distance from him.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is COVID-19 positive, greeted a crowd of supporters while he took a walk on the grounds of his presidential palace on Sunday afternoon, video broadcast live on his Facebook page showed.
While Bolsonaro, who had earlier dismissed the highly-contagious virus as "little flu", was wearing a mask, he was closely flanked by a number of aides who did not appear to consistently maintain a significant social distance from him. He repeatedly lowered his mask while talking, including when aides were nearby, CNN reported.
Supporters were separated from the President by a small water canal, but two people crossed over to Bolsonaro's side. One man helped a second man, who appeared to have a physical disability, walk close to the President for a greeting, said the CNN report.
“Thank you for the trust,” Bolsonaro told the pair. “I want to make a government for you all.” Bolsonaro also raised what appeared to be a small box of medicine.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bolsonaro has repeatedly endorsed the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine, even though the Brazilian Society of Infectious Disease issued a report calling for medical professionals to stop using the drug for COVID-19 patients. Bolsonaro has said he has taken it since testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
He has sidelined medical experts in Brazil's handling of the pandemic, which has become the worst in the world outside the United States. He has pushed back against state and city lockdowns and often circulated in public without a mask, drawing criticism from public health specialists.
Cases in Brazil crossed the 2 million mark on last Thursday, doubling in less than a month and adding nearly 40,000 new cases a day. A patchwork of state and city responses has held up poorly in Brazil in the absence of a tightly coordinated policy from the federal government.