Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who had played down the risks of COVID-19, tested positive for the virus.
According to BBC on Tuesday (local time), Mr. Bolsonaro tested positive after showing cough and high fever symptoms at the press conference that was broadcasted live. Since the test, he has cancelled his official schedule and self-quarantined at home.
Dismissing the virus as “a little flu” since Brazil’s first confirmed case in late February, Mr. Bolsonaro had played down the threats of COVID-19. He ignored the advice of public health officials, meeting with supports on the streets without wearing a mask. He has been known to respond by saying “Death is everyone’s destiny” and “What do you expect me to do?” when asked about responsibility on the spread of the virus.
According to Worldometer, a world statistics site, the number of accumulated COVID-19 patients in Brazil as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday recorded more than 1.67 million and the death toll at 66,868, which is the second largest in the world after the U.S. Many criticize the president’s lack of action to enforce lockdown due to economic concerns for worsening the situation.
He did not lower his guard, however, even after infected with the virus. He suddenly removed his mask during the press conference on Tuesday, saying that he was absolutely fine and it is not necessary to be overly fearful of COVID-19. However, the Press Association of Brazil claimed that it would report the president to the Federal Court claiming his actions as “act of crime that could put journalists at risk.”