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Bolsonaro tests positive for the coronavirus

. Jul 07, 2020
Bolsonaro tests positive for the coronavirus Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo (left) and Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR

President Jair Bolsonaro confirmed he has tested positive for Covid-19. He told reporters he began feeling ill on Sunday and decided to go to the hospital on Monday after feeling flu symptoms.

Speaking live to reporters, Mr. Bolsonaro assured that he is “well” and will begin working from home. “I’m much better than yesterday, I feel good enough to go for a walk.”

The president claimed he has been taking antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine since developing a fever on Sunday. He has previously touted the medication as a potential “cure” for Covid-19 and stressed that his condition has improved after being administered the drug.

He compared the coronavirus to “catching a little rain,” while yielding that “for some the virus is strong.”

In the past, Mr. Bolsonaro has downplayed the severity of Covid-19, referring to it as a “little flu” and suggesting that he would not be affected by the virus, due to his “past as an athlete.” On Tuesday afternoon, however, he included himself among the risk group for the disease.

Contact tracing

As we informed in today’s Daily Briefing, Mr. Bolsonaro met with U.S. Ambassador Todd Chapman for July 4 celebrations — alongside five cabinet members and Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, his son. All authorities had close contact with each other and no one used a facemask. The U.S. Embassy said Mr. Chapman had no symptoms but will undergo testing.

Markets react

The stock market started trading in the red today, falling roughly 0.5 percent at the opening bell. A timid recovery began around 11:55 am (Brasília time) —  but the news of Mr. Bolsonaro’s positive diagnosis plunged Ibovespa further into negative territory, with a 1.5-percent drop. “He appears to be in good health, but markets will obviously monitor his progress very closely,” says Pablo Spyer, director at Mirae Asset.

Covid-19 in world leaders

Jair Bolsonaro becomes now only the second Latin American leader to contract Covid-19, after Honduras’ Juan Orlando Hernández.The list of world leaders who caught the virus includes British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as his counterparts in Russia (Mikhail Mishustin), and Armenia (Nikol Pashinyan). The virus has also ravaged the Iranian government — with at least 24 members testing positive.

This is a developing story.


Correction: A previous version of this text said Canadian Justin Trudeau had contracted the coronavirus. Reader Leanne Stalker corrected us that his wife Sophie was infected — not Mr. Trudeau.

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