Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday announced that he had tested positive for coronavirus but said he was feeling "perfectly well" and had only mild symptoms.
Bolsonaro, who had earlier been criticised for downplaying the virus by calling it a "little flu", told journalists in person that he had indeed contracted the infection and backed a few steps before removing his mask and saying, "Just look at my face: I’m fine".
At a time when wearing a face mask and washing hands are a handful of preventive measures to break the chain of the deadly virus, Twitterati showed concerns at the apparent recklessness of the Brazillian President.
“Not going to be brought down by a little flu.”Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID. Attended numerous public events without a mask. We need to get real!— Hiba Bég (@HibaBeg) July 7, 2020
“Just look at my face, I’m fine,” says Jair Bolsonaro, as he takes off his mask to reveal a face that...most definitely does not look fine. pic.twitter.com/uX1L96R0jl— Ed Clowes (@EdClowes) July 7, 2020
am very shocked that the man who attended an anti-lockdown rally, refused to wear a face mask, let coronavirus run rampage through Brazil and said "It's just a little flu or the sniffles" has now tested positive for Covid #bolsonaro pic.twitter.com/rKWhWS0Udc— end of daves ❄️ (@davemacladd) July 7, 2020
Bolsonaro tested positive for COVID-19. No surprise here. Considering how the president consistently violated social distancing measures & hugged supporters without wearing a mask, it was always a question of when, not whether this would happen.What's next? A few thoughts — Oliver Stuenkel (@OliverStuenkel) July 7, 2020
“Just look at my face: I’m fine,” Bolsonaro says, taking off his mask in front of journalists after announcing he has just tested positive for coronavirus pic.twitter.com/JIHHcjniPl— Tom Phillips (@tomphillipsin) July 7, 2020
Bolsonaro giving a real live press conference after testing positive for Covid-19 is not great in the first place - but then the mask comes off?! pic.twitter.com/cQ3lmqrFqx— Constance Malleret (@ConstanceMlrt) July 7, 2020
The Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro took off his mask while announcing in a press conference that he tested positive for coronavirus. At the beginning of the conference, he was only a few centimetres distant from the reporters. https://t.co/5HjSh7ecD4— Caio Quero (@caioquero) July 7, 2020
In the interview broadcast on state-run TV Brasil, Bolsonaro said he began feeling ill on Sunday and has been taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug with unproven effectiveness against COVID-19.
Brazil has the world's second-largest outbreak behind the United States. Latin America's largest country has more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and 65,000 COVID-19 deaths.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly defied local guidelines to wear a mask in public even after a judge ordered him to do so in late June. Bolsonaro has also railed against social distancing rules supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).