The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has announced live on television he has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
“It came back positive,” a mask-wearing Bolsonaro told a hand-picked group of reporters on Tuesday lunchtime.
Jair, 65, has repeatedly trivialized the pandemic and flouted social distancing, even as Brazil became the second-worst hit country after the United States, with more than 65,000 deaths and 1.6 million confirmed cases.
In March, as COVID-19 claimed its first victims in Brazil, the far-right populist used an address to the nation to brag that, if infected, he would quickly shake off the illness thanks to his “athlete’s background”.
Since then, Jair has continued to attend social events and political rallies, often wearing masks incorrectly, or not wearing them at all.
The right-wing leader, 65, has consistently downplayed the threat of the virus in recent months, describing it as nothing more than “a little flu.” He also suggested that his past as an athlete would make him immune to the worst symptoms of the disease.
Last month, a judge ordered Jair to wear a face mask in public. However, a separate court order later rescinded this ruling.
Jair’s diagnosis comes just three days after he had lunch at the home of the US ambassador to Brazil, Todd Chapman, in the capital, Brasília.