The Strategist

Brazilian President tested positive for COVID-19

07/08/2020 - 02:35

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who repeatedly called COVID-19 “mild flu,” refused to impose a national quarantine and defiantly ignored recommendations for wearing masks. Recently, he became infected with a coronavirus. He was added to the list of more than 1.6 million cases in Brazil, which ranks second after the United States in this indicator. Moreover, in a number of regions of the country, for example, in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, quarantine restrictions are already being gradually lifted.

Palácio do Planalto
Palácio do Planalto
Head of the state passed a coronavirus test, and its results became known only on Tuesday. It turned out that Jair Bolsonaru COVID-19 positive.

Earlier, CNN Brasil reported that Jair Bolsonaru recently had a fever and a cough. President canceled all appointments this week and started taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug for the treatment of malaria, which the Brazilian leader and US President Donald Trump had previously spoken well about. On Saturday, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement stating that the drug "does not cause a decrease in mortality among hospitalized patients with COVID-19."

The Brazilian leader passed the test for COVID-19 for the fourth time. The two previous ones were between March 12 and 17, after Mr. Bolsonaru returned from a bilateral meeting with Donald Trump in Florida. Then, many of President’s entourage were infected. Jair Bolsonaru, however, continued to neglect WHO recommendations (he appeared in public places without a mask, took pictures with his supporters without observing the distance) – all despite the fact that the situation with the spread of the virus in Brazil is one of the most frightening in the world.

The number of those infected with COVID-19 in the Latin American country is second only to the United States, where 2.9 million people are infected. The total number of infected people in Brazil is 1.6 million, and there are already 65.4 thousand deaths. The daily increase in the number of infected people, however, is slowing down: in late May or early June this indicator would reach 6–7%, then in July never exceeded 3.3%. “The growth is not as exponential as before,” commented WHO Executive Director Mike Ryan on the situation in Brazil last week.

Meanwhile, starting in mid-June, Brazilian authorities have been gradually lifting quarantine restrictions. Shopping centers opened in the two largest cities of the country, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and crowds began to gather on the beaches again. Since Monday, a third of existing commercial establishments have also opened in São Paulo, including hairdressers and beauty salons. Last Friday, the state governor of São Paulo allowed cultural events, as well as opening of cinemas and theaters. However, he urged that necessary precautions be taken, including wearing masks.

President does not consider the threat of a pandemic to be significant, or at least did not consider it until recently. On Friday, in particular, he signed a law that obliges Brazilians to wear masks in public transport, taxis and prisons, but has vetoed some significant provisions of the document. As a result, according to his decision, the use of protective masks in factories, shops, restaurants, government offices and venues for religious meetings has become optional.


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