Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19 again
Bolsonaro said he is taking anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, an unproven COVID-19 treatment that he and his US counterpart Donald Trump have touted as a remedy for the coronavirus.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has again tested positive for COVID-19, a week after he first announced he had become infected, and continued to promote anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to fight the highly-contagious disease.
Bolsonaro, a former Army captain, first announced his diagnosis on July 7 after dismissing the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, calling it a "little flu" even as Brazil's outbreak became the worst in the world outside the US.
He has sidelined medical experts and pushed back against state and city lockdowns. He has been often seen in public without a mask, drawing criticism from public health specialists.
Since catching the virus, the President has said he remains in good health and he would resume his normal work schedule if he tested negative. On Wednesday, he said he would get tested again in a few days.
Talking about the anti-malaria drug in a video posted on social media, he said: "I was medicated from the beginning with hydroxychloroquine, with a doctor's recommendation. I felt better the next day."
"Whether it is a coincidence or not... it worked for me."
He also played down Brazil's mounting death toll amid COVID-19 pandemic – now over 74,000, out of nearly 2 million confirmed cases. Like close ally US President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro has been quick to sing the praises of hydroxychloroquine, despite scant scientific evidence that it works against the novel coronavirus.
On Wednesday, the Brazilian President appeared at a flag ceremony in the grounds of the presidential palace, wearing a mask and remaining at a distance from others.
The right-wing President's pressure to use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 in Brazil alienated two health ministers, who resigned in the middle of the pandemic.
The ministry is currently being led on an interim basis by an active duty Army general, who appeared slated to remain in the role for the time being, Reuters reported.