Brazil’s Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus again

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro observes a ceremony to lower the Brazilian national flag for the night at Alvorada Palace during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brasilia, Brazil, on July 15, 2020. REUTERS / Ueslei Marcelino

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for coronavirus again, he told reporters Wednesday in Brasilia, suggesting that he had not yet recovered from an infection that was first diagnosed last week.

Since becoming infected with the virus, the president has said he is still in good health and would resume his normal work schedule if tested negative this week. On Wednesday, he said he would be retested in a few days.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, first made his diagnosis on July 7 after dismissing the severity of the COVID 19 pandemic and calling it "little flu", although Brazil's outbreak became the worst in the world outside the United States.

He downplayed the country's rising death toll – now over 74,000 out of nearly 2 million confirmed cases – and said that his good physical condition would prevent him from developing serious symptoms if he got sick.

Bolsonaro has also pulled medical experts out of Brazil's way of dealing with the pandemic, fought against state and urban barriers, and often publicized without a mask, which has been criticized by public health professionals.

He also said he was taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, an unproven COVID-19 treatment that he and US President Donald Trump have touted as a cure for the coronavirus.

Bolsonaro's pressure to use the drug alienated two health ministers who resigned in the middle of the pandemic. The ministry is temporarily headed by an active army general.

Reporting by Leonardo Benassatto in Brasilia; Alexandre Caverni and Marcelo Rochabrun in Sao Paulo; Edited by Christian Plumb, Brad Haynes and Richard Chang

(tagsToTranslate) USA (t) HEALTH (t) CORONAVIRUS (t) BRAZIL (t) Brazil (t) General News (t) America (t) Important News (t) South America / Central America (t) Government / Politics

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