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Dublin: 16 °C Wednesday 12 August, 2020
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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for Covid-19

Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and speaking to reporters.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Image: Marcos Correa via PA Images

BRAZIL’S PRESIDENT JAIR Bolsonaro has announced he has tested positive for the Covid-19 following months of downplaying the severity of the virus.

Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and speaking to reporters in the country’s capital Brasilia.

“I’m well, normal. I even want to take a walk around here, but I can’t due to medical recommendations,” Bolsonaro said.

Yesterday, Bolsonaro told supporters in Brasilia that he underwent an X-ray of his lungs that showed they were clean, and that he would be tested for Covid-19. Today, he said his temperature had subsided.

The far right leader has caused huge controversy in Brazil for repeatedly flouting containment measures and minimising the risk of the virus, which has killed 65,000 people in the South American giant and infected 1.6 million.

Yesterday, the president made more changes to weaken a law that would require citizens to wear face masks in public.

He had already watered down the bill on Friday by vetoing several articles, such as requiring employers to supply face masks for their staff and another mandating that public authorities should provide face coverings for “economically vulnerable people”.

Now Bolsonaro has also vetoed articles requiring masks be worn in prisons and another obliging businesses to provide information on how to wear masks properly.

Some states have already made the wearing of face-coverings mandatory, but this was the first such law on a national level.

Over the weekend, the Brazilian leader celebrated the US Independence Day with the nation’s ambassador to Brazil, then shared pictures on social media showing him with his arm around the ambassador alongside several ministers and aides. None wore masks, despite being in close quarters.

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The US Embassy said on Twitter yesterday that Ambassador Todd Chapman is not showing any Covid-19 symptoms but would be tested.

Bolsonaro tested negative three times in March after meeting with US President Donald Trump in Florida. Multiple members of his delegation to the US were later reported to be infected with the virus.

Includes reporting by © – AFP 2020 and Press Association

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