Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said during a press conference Tuesday that he had tested positive for coronavirus.
“It came back positive,” he told a group of reporters outside his official residence in the capital city Brasilia, according to the Guardian. “I’m well, normal. I even want to take a walk around here, but I can’t due to medical recommendations,” Bolsonaro added.
— Planalto (@planalto) July 7, 2020
The 65-year-old president has repeatedly appeared in public without a mask, often shaking hands and mingling with large crowds of people at political rallies, BBC News reported. At the start of the pandemic, Bolsonaro reportedly referred to the novel coronavirus as “a little cold” and previously said his history as an athlete would protect him from the virus.
Brazil has been referred to as a global hot spot for coronavirus due to the fact that the country has been unable to contain the outbreak or effectively implement public safety measures, like distributing testing kits or enacting social distancing measures, according to Forbes.
Brazil has more than 1.6 million recorded cases and more than 65,000 recorded deaths, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center. (RELATED: Trump Shuts Down Entry To United States For The Majority Of Individuals Traveling From Brazil Over Coronavirus Fears)
Media outlets in Brazil had previously reported in March that Bolsonaro tested positive for the novel coronavirus, although Bolsonaro tested negative after three tests according to the Associated Press. A federal court ruled in June that Bolsonaro would not be exempt from orders to wear a mask in public in Brasilia’s capital district.
Bolsonaro also celebrated Independence Day with the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Todd Chapman over the July Fourth weekend, reported the Associated Press. In a tweet Monday, Chapman stated he did not show any symptoms but would be tested as well.
@USAmbBR Chapman teve um almoço privado, no dia 4 de julho, com o presidente @JairBolsonaro, 5 ministros e o deputado @BolsonaroSP. O embaixador não apresenta nenhum sintoma, mas está tomando as precauções, fará os testes e seguirá os protocolos de rastreamento dos @CDCgov. (1/2)
— Embaixada EUA Brasil (@EmbaixadaEUA) July 7, 2020
“There’s no reason for fear. That’s life,” Bolsonaro said during the press conference, according to the Guardian. “Life goes on. I thank God for my life and the role I’ve been given to decide the future of this great nation that is called Brazil.”