Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Tuesday that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
资料图 2019年12月5日，在巴西本图贡萨尔维斯，巴西总统博索纳罗出席会议。 新华社发（拉赫尔·帕特拉索 摄） 图源：新华网
"On Sunday, I wasn't feeling very well. On Monday, it got worse when I started feeling tired and some muscle pain. I also had a 38-degree [Celsius] fever. Given those symptoms, the presidential doctor said there was suspicion of Covid-19," Bolsonaro said, adding that he then went to hospital to receive a lung scan.
Bolsonaro himself announced the result, speaking on Brazilian TV channels Tuesday. "Everyone knew that it would reach a considerable part of the population sooner or later. It was positive for me," he said, referring to the Covid-19 test he took Monday. "I'm not going to see anyone for meetings. Everything will be done via video conference," he said.
"We know the fatality of the virus for those of a certain age, like me, above 65, as well as for those with comorbidities, diseases, other issues. In those cases, the virus could be decisive and lead to death," he said.
Back in April, Bolsonaro said that even if infected, he would "not have to worry as I wouldn't feel anything, at most it would be like a little flu or a little cold".
Bolsonaro has often appeared in public and at rallies without a face mask, even hugging supporters.
The president was tested three times in March, following a trip to the U.S. in which 20 members of his delegation or people he met with later tested positive for COVID-19.
This week's positive result comes just days after he attended a July 4th commemoration event with the US Ambassador to Brazil.
Bolsonaro’s handling of the crisis has drawn criticism from public health experts as he fought state and city efforts to impose social distancing, arguing that the economic damage would be worse than the disease itself. He has fired two health ministers during the pandemic, both trained doctors.
Brazil is second only to the United States in numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths.
"I have to admit, I thought I had gotten it earlier," he said on Tuesday. "Because of my contact with the people, I thought I had contracted it already and not noticed it, like the majority of the Brazilian population that contracts the virus, and doesn't know," he continued. With coronavirus tests hard to come by in the country, some local experts say the real number of people infected could be 12 to 16 times higher.
Bolsonaro stepped back and removed his mask to reveal a smile, adding: “You can see from my face that I’m well and I’m calm.”