Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro told supporters gathered outside the presidential palace in Brasília Monday that he took a Covid-19 exam and that his lungs were screened.
“I’ve came back from the hospital now, I’ve done a lung screening, my lung is clean, OK? I went to do a Covid exam a while ago, but everything is okay,” he said.
Bolsonaro, who was wearing a mask, warned people to not get near him.
“You can’t get very close [to me], OK? Recommendation for everyone,” Bolsonaro said.
Asked about media reports that Bolsonaro has a fever, Cintia Macedo, a presidential spokesperson, told CNN: “We do not have this information. We do not confirm this information at this moment.”
CNN reported in May that Bolsonaro tested negative for coronavirus in three separate exams that were released to the public. The three tests were administered between March 12 and March 17 after Bolsonaro returned from a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump in Florida and many in his entourage tested positive.
Brazil is second only to the United States in number of coronavirus infections and deaths. More than 65,000 people have died from coronavirus in Brazil, according to figures released by the country’s health ministry on Monday, and 1,623,284 cases have been confirmed so far.
Bolsonaro has previously appeared in public and at rallies without a mask, even hugging supporters. He has encouraged reopening even as the country’s number of cases rises, and has criticized local governments’ efforts to stamp out the virus through social distancing measures, such as quarantine and shelter-in-place orders.
“Our life has to go on. Jobs should be maintained,” Bolsonaro said in the still-early days of the pandemic, during a March 24 speech broadcast on national television and radio. He has maintained that position, arguing that the economic fallout of lockdown could be worse than the virus itself. He has also continued to occasionally greet supporters without protective equipment — even after a court ordered him to wear a mask or face a fine. The order has since been overturned.
Last week, Bolsonaro vetoed parts of a law that mandates wearing face masks in public during the pandemic. The use of masks in shopping malls, stores, religious temples, educational establishments and other closed places where people gather will no longer be mandatory, though individual states and municipalities can enforce those measures.