SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Wednesday he has tested positive for the new coronavirus for a second time, following his July 7 announcement that he had COVID-19.
“I did the test yesterday, and at night the result came back that I am still positive for coronavirus," Bolsonaro said. “I hope that in the coming days I will do another test and, God willing, everything will be all right to return soon to activity.”
The far-right leader said he hasn't experienced serious symptoms of the disease as he isolates at the presidential residence in capital of Brasilia.
According to the World Health Organization, the median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately two weeks.
Before his diagnosis, Bolsonaro had spent many of his weekends since the beginning of the pandemic mingling in crowds, sometimes without wearing a mask. He is treating his COVID-19 with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, although it has not been proven effective against the virus.
Brazil, the world’s sixth most-populous nation and home to 210 million people, is one of the outbreak’s epicenters. More than 75,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19, and almost 2 million have been infected, according to government statistics. Both numbers are the world’s second-highest totals, behind those of the U.S.
Bolsonaro's administration on Wednesday completed two months without a health minister. The interim minister, Gen. Eduardo Pazuello, who had no experience in the field before April, is facing pressure to leave the job. He took over after his predecessor, a doctor and health care consultant, quit in protest over Bolsonaro’s support for the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a related drug.
“We know that there is no scientific evidence, but it worked with me,” Bolsonaro said Wednesday on Facebook. “The future will say whether that remedy is effective or not. It was for me. I believe in it. If it was, a lot of people were wrong. People with responsibility.”
Other world leaders who previously contracted COVID-19 include British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince Albert II of Monaco and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández.