Brazilian president Bolsonaro says he has ‘mould’ in his lungs after coronavirus infection

Erratic populist president posts video online explaining ongoing health problems despite recovering from virus

Tim Wyatt
Friday 31 July 2020 16:57 BST
Brazil's populist president Jair Bolsonaro has frequently disregarded public health advice during the pandemic
Brazil's populist president Jair Bolsonaro has frequently disregarded public health advice during the pandemic (Reuters)

Brazil’s far-right president appeared to joke about having mould in his lungs after spending weeks in isolation suffering from coronavirus.

Jair Bolsonaro, who has presided over a chaotic response to the pandemic which has left more than 90,000 Brazilians dead so far, made the offbeat remarks in a video posted online.

“I just did a blood test. I was feeling kind of weak yesterday,” he said. “They found a bit of infection also. Now I’m on antibiotics.

“After 20 days indoors, I have other problems. I have mould in my lungs.”

The president tested positive for Covid-19 on 7 July and then spent nearly three weeks in isolation at the presidential palace before testing negative on Saturday. It was unclear exactly what health problems he is continuing to experience.

Despite his apparent recovery from the infection, his wife Michelle has now announced she has the virus, as does the science minister Marcos Pontes, the fifth cabinet minister to test positive so far.

Following his recovery and despite his ongoing health concerns, Mr Bolsonaro has immediately resumed political campaigning across Brazil, frequently flouting social distancing guidelines in the process.

During a visit to the Piaui state in Brazil’s northeast he was pictured shaking hands with local officials and removing his face mask, before flying on to Bahia state where he unveiled a new public water supply system by splashing water while unmasked onto his supporters who had crowded around him.

Despite catching Covid-19 himself, Mr Bolsonaro has spent most of the pandemic striving to dismiss the dangers of the virus and arguing against lockdowns on the grounds they would damage the economy.

This approach is opposed by most Brazilians, opinion polls show, and has left Brazil facing one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world.

He has also continued to promote hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the virus, despite studies showing the anti-malaria drug is not effective against Covid-19 and can cause heart problems.

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