Brazil president Bolsonaro says lungs ‘clean’ after coronavirus test

The controversial right-wing leader has been criticised over his handling of the pandemic

 Local media reported on Monday Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro  had symptoms associated with the Covid-19. Photograph: Evaristo/AFP/Getty

Local media reported on Monday Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro had symptoms associated with the Covid-19. Photograph: Evaristo/AFP/Getty

 

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday he had undergone another test for the novel coronavirus and his lungs were “clean,” after local media reported he had symptoms associated with the Covid-19 respiratory disease.

Mr Bolsonaro has repeatedly played down the impact of the virus, even as Brazil has suffered one of the world’s worst outbreaks, with more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and 65,000 related deaths, according to official data on Monday.

CNN Brasil and newspaper Estado de S Paulo reported that he had symptoms of the disease, such as a fever.

Mr Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace that he had just visited the hospital and been tested.

“I can’t get very close,” he said in comments recorded by Foco do Brasil, a pro-government YouTube channel. “I came from the hospital. I underwent a lung scan. The lung’s clean.”

The president’s office said in a statement that the president is at his home and is “in good health.”

The right-wing populist has often defied local guidelines to wear a mask in public, even after a judge ordered him to do so in late June.

An aerial view taken during a protest against Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and in honour of the people who died of Covid-19 in which 1,000 crosses were placed in front of the National Congress in Brasilia, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on June 28th.Photograph: Sergio Lima/AFP/Getty
An aerial view taken during a protest against Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and in honour of the people who died of Covid-19 in which 1,000 crosses were placed in front of the National Congress in Brasilia, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on June 28th.Photograph: Sergio Lima/AFP/Getty

Over the weekend, Mr Bolsonaro attended several events and was in close contact with the US ambassador to Brazil during July 4th celebrations.

The US embassy in Brasilia said via Twitter that Todd Chapman, the ambassador, had lunch on July 4th with Mr Bolsonaro, five ministers and Mr Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo, who is a federal congressman.

The ambassador has no symptoms, but will undergo testing and is “taking precautions,” the embassy said.

Mr Bolsonaro tested negative for the coronavirus after several aides were diagnosed following a visit to US president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida, estate in March.

CNN Brasil reported that Mr Bolsonaro has begun taking the drugs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, which he touts as a Covid-19 treatment despite little proof of their effectiveness.

Mr Bolsonaro’s official events on Tuesday have been cancelled, according to CNN Brasil. – Reuters