- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he has tested positive for the new coronavirus as his country emerges as a hotspot amid the ongoing pandemic.

Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus, and a court last month ordered him to wear a mask in public.

A mask-wearing Mr. Bolsonaro, who had displayed illness symptoms in recent days, confirmed to reporters Tuesday morning that the tests “came back positive.”

The 65-year-old president, a conservative populist and a close ally of President Trump, becomes one of the most prominent world leaders to have contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized with a severe case earlier this year but has since recovered.

“I’m well, normal,” Mr. Bolsonaro said. “I even want to take a walk around here, but I can’t due to medical recommendations.”

Mr. Bolsonaro is being treated with a combination of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin — a combination Mr. Trump has frequently touted as a potential game-changer in the battle against the coronavirus.

Mr. Trump in May issued a partial travel ban for non-U.S. citizens seeking to re-enter the United States from Brazil.

Brazil has more than 1.6 million positive cases and more than 65,000 coronavirus-related deaths among its population of more than 200 million, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.

Those totals are both the second-most among the official count of countries around the world, behind the United States.

David Sands contributed to this report.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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