South America

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has again tested positive for coronavirus

Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for coronavirus weeks after first catching the infection. Source: AGIFP

Since testing positive Jair Bolsonaro has been working by video conference from the presidential residence, the Alvorada Palace, a routine he admitted last week he "can't stand."

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has again tested positive for coronavirus, saying he would extend his two-week quarantine and suspend upcoming travel plans.

The far-right leader, who has faced criticism for downplaying the pandemic and flouting social distancing measures, has been in self-isolation in the presidential palace in Brasilia since first testing positive for the virus on 7 July.

President Bolsonaro carries a child during a protest against Brazil's National Congress to back his open-the-economy drive amid the pandemic, in May.o
President Bolsonaro carries a child during a protest against Brazil's National Congress to back his open-the-economy drive amid the pandemic, in May.
AAP

"President Jair Bolsonaro's health continues to improve, under the treatment of the presidential medical team," his office said in a statement.

"A (new coronavirus) test carried out yesterday on the president came back positive."

Mr Bolsonaro, 65, has famously compared the virus to a "little flu" and attacked stay-at-home measures and other guidelines from public-health officials.

Until he was infected, he regularly hit the streets of Brasilia without a face mask, exchanging hugs and handshakes with supporters and urging Latin America's biggest country to get back to work despite the rapid spread of the virus.

Since testing positive after developing a fever and fatigue, he has been working by video conference from the presidential residence, the Alvorada Palace, a routine he admitted last week he "can't stand".

"Following the latest positive test result, his third since getting infected, Mr Bolsonaro "indefinitely postponed" upcoming trips to the north-eastern states of Piaui and Bahia, his office said.

Followers of the far-right politician gathered again around the presidential residence to express support amidst his COVID-19 case.
Followers of the far-right politician gathered again around the presidential residence to express support amidst his COVID-19 case.
EFE

On Sunday, Mr Bolsonaro greeted supporters at his residence, separated by a reflecting pool about two metres wide.

He removed his face mask to talk to them and proudly held up a box of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug he is taking against the infection.

Both Mr Bolsonaro and US President Donald Trump, whom he admires, have touted the medication as a treatment for COVID-19, despite a lack of scientific evidence for its effectiveness.

Brazil is the country hit second-hardest by the pandemic, after the United States. It has recorded nearly 2.2 million infections and more than 80,000 deaths.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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