The 65-year-old announced on Monday that he took the test and that his lungs were “clean.” On Tuesday, he revealed that he has been infected, the Washington Post reports. Bolsonaro exhibited symptoms over the weekend, with his positive result arriving just after he attended a Fourth of July lunch celebration with Todd Chapman, the United States ambassador to Brazil.
After sharing the news with reporters on Tuesday, Bolsonaro marginally backed away, took his mask off, and said, “There is no need to panic,” and said he will go into quarantine. He has also alleged that he has already started taking hydroxychloroquine, a questionable drug that has been widely touted by President Trump as a treatment for the virus.
The Brazilian president has continuously denounced the virus, even as his country sees a surge in cases. He’s previously called COVID-19 a “little flu,” pushed local governors to issue reopenings, and has consistently gone out in public without any heed to social distancing or covering his face.
“We are sorry for all the dead, but that’s everyone’s destiny,” he said in June as the country saw a dramatic uptick in infections. In March, he was tested for the virus at least three times after seeing Trump, with all tests coming back negative.
However, last month, a Brazilian judge instructed Bolsonaro to wear a mask while in public after he went to a number of political rallies without one. The judge said no one is “above the law” and that the president had a “clear intent to break the rules.”
There are over 1.6 million cases of coronavirus in Brazil. In June, the government claimed that local officials had exaggerated the number of cases, and removed the information from the Health Ministry’s website. The country’s Supreme Court ruled that the data be republished on the site, amid allegations that the government was trying to conceal the growing outbreak.
The virus began spreading throughout the top levels of the Brazilian government in March. That month, Bolsonaro’s communications chief and almost two dozen Brazilian government officials tested positive after meeting with Trump at Mar-A-Lago.
Twitter was up in arms about Bolsonaro’s positive test results, with many chalking it up to karmic retribution.