On Wednesday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro again lauded the supposed benefits of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in the battle against Covid-19, claiming that he again tested positive for coronavirus, a week after he first confirmed that he was infected. Like close ally US President Donald Trump, amid insufficient scientific evidence that it works against the novel coronavirus, Bolsonaro has been swift to sing the praises of hydroxychloroquine.
Bolsonaro has said that he remains in good health after contracting the virus, and that he will resume his normal work routine once he has tested negative. He appeared at a flag ceremony in the presidential palace grounds on Wednesday, wearing a mask and keeping a distance from others. He said within a couple of days he should get checked again.
The right-wing president’s pressure to use hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 in Brazil alienated two health ministers, who resigned in the middle of the pandemic. The ministry is currently being led on an interim basis by an active duty army general, who appeared slated to remain in the role for the time being, sources told Reuters on Wednesday. Early in the pandemic he described the disease as a “small flu” and has now played down the rising death toll of more than 75,000 in the world, claiming he has a good “athletic past” that would shield him from experiencing severe symptoms.