Anti-mask Mexican politician confirms he has Covid

Gerardo Fernandez Noroña caused a session of Mexico’s National Electoral Institute to be suspended for refusing to wear a mask in 2020

Bevan Hurley
Wednesday 28 July 2021 18:46
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A Mexican politician famous for his anti-mask posturing has confirmed he has fallen ill with Covid-19.

Gerardo Fernandez Noroña, a Labor Party representative in the Chamber of Deputies, has mocked the use of masks and teased political opponents when he received a negative test just last week.

On Monday, he issued a statement to say he had tested positive and was receiving treatment through the Mexican public health system.

“I want to thank the authorities and the health staff for all the care and professionalism with which they have served me,” he said.

Fernandez Noroña has previously staged performative protests against the use of masks, occasionally landing himself in hot water.

Last year, he refused to wear a mask at official session of the National Electoral Institute, causing the assembly to be suspended.

“If you want to put a gag on me, I will speak without a gag," he said at the time.

“If you want to censor me, I can’t speak with a gag on.”

On Wednesday, Fernandez Noroña issued an update to say he was able to perform simple exercises and was feeling better.

According to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Research Center, Mexico has suffered 239,079 deaths from Covid-19, the fourth highest in the world after the United States, Brazil and India.

Official figures put Mexico’s Covid-19 cases at just under 2.8 million, although testing rates are low and the real number is thought to be far higher.

The Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has also spoken disdainfully about mask use, even after falling ill with virus himself earlier this year.

Lopez Obrador refuses to wear masks except when legally required to on flights.

That month an opinion poll in the El Financiero newspaper found 86 per cent of Mexicans felt masks helped prevent Covid-19 spread, while nearly nine in ten said they always wore one when leaving home.

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