Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is the latest world leader to catch COVID-19.
Bolsonaro has been contemptuous of the coronavirus pandemic that is moving through the world, at one stage calling it “a little flu”.
Brazil, the world’s sixth-heavily populated nation with more than 210 million people, has reported that more than 65,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19 with over 1.5 million being infected. Both numbers are the world’s second-highest totals, behind those of the US, though the true figures are believed to be higher due to a lack of widespread testing. On Tuesday alone, 1,254 deaths were confirmed, AP News reported.
The 65-year-old Bolsonaro, who has mingled in crowds without covering his face, confirmed he had caught COVID-19 while wearing a mask and speaking to reporters huddled close in front of him in the capital, Brasilia.
He said he is taking hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug that he, like US President Donald Trump, had been promoting. Hydroxychloroquine has not been proven effective against COVID-19 and has been suspended from use by the World Health Organization.
“I’m, well, normal. I even want to take a walk around here, but I can’t due to medical recommendations,” Bolsonaro said. “I thought I had it before, given my very dynamic activity. I’m president and on the combat lines. I like to be in the middle of the people.”
Bolsonaro on Tuesday likened the coronavirus to a rain that will fall on most people and said that some, like the elderly, must take greater care.
“You can’t just talk about the consequences of the virus that you have to worry about. Life goes on. Brazil needs to produce. You need to get the economy in gear,″ he said.
Other world leaders to have caught COVID-19 include:
- Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, who said the severity of his condition meant plans had been drawn up in the event of his death. He spent three days in intensive care.
- Prince Charles, 71, spent seven days self-isolating at his Birkhall home on the Royal Balmoral estate in Scotland after testing positive and displaying mild symptoms.
- Prince Albert II, of Monaco, contracted COVID-19 on 19 March. His health status was not worrying even when he had COVID-19.
- Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández spent 16 days in hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19.”Many think this is a game and it is not until they see a relative who gets sick or when they get sick themselves that they understand the seriousness of this issue,” the President said on national TV upon his release from hospital. “I tell you, the truth is I don’t wish this on anyone.”
“I thought about what would happen if I could not be with my family anymore,” he said, noting that his wife, First Lady Ana García de Hernández, was recovering from the virus at home.