Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro confirmed on Tuesday that he has tested positive for coronavirus.
“I’m perfectly well,” Bolsonaro said while announcing the diagnosis on CNN Brasil. The president was tested on Monday after developing symptoms of coronavirus, including a fever, and is currently taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine in an attempt to mitigate the infection.
Bolsonaro has frequently ignored the advice of his country’s health officials and joined large crowds of his supporters, while also pushing to reopen the Brazilian economy. Bolsonaro fired health minister Luis Henrique Mandetta in mid-April after clashing over social-distancing recommendations.
“I do not condemn, I do not recriminate, and I do not criticize Minister Mandetta,” Bolsonaro said at the time. “He did what, as a doctor, he thought he should do at the time. Isolation, increasingly, became a reality. But we cannot make decisions that destroy the work that has already been done.”
Brazil has seen at least 65,000 deaths and 1,620,000 cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak in the country of over 209 million is among the worst outbreaks in Latin America.
In March of this year, as coronavirus was spreading throughout the U.S., Bolsonaro’s chief of staff tested positive for the illness after being photographed standing next to President Trump and Vice President Pence. The Brazilian president had come to discuss trade between the two countries, as well as policy regarding Venezuela. Neither Pence nor Trump have announced a positive diagnosis since the start of the pandemic.