Coronavirus: Brazil's Bolsonaro taking unproven hydroxychloroquine to 'help his recovery'

Jair Bolsonaro takes a pill after talking up hydroxychloroquine as part of his recovery from coronavirus. Credit: Jair Bolsonaro/Facebook

Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro said he is confident of recovering quickly from coronavirus as he has been taking hydroxychloroquine, the unproven anti-viral malaria drug touted by Trump. Mr Bolsonaro said he tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday after months of downplaying the severity of the Covid-19 as deaths linked to the disease climbed above 66,000 in his country. He told reporters he underwent a lung x-ray on Monday after experiencing fever, muscle aches and malaise.

He said his fever had subsided on Tuesday, attributing his recovery to hydroxychloroquine. Studies have proven inconclusive as to whether the drug used to treat malaria can benefit coronavirus patients in their recovery. In a video posted to Facebook, he said: “Today I’m a lot better, so certainly it’s working.”“We know today there are other remedies that can help fight the coronavirus. “We know none of them have their efficacy scientifically proven, but I’m one more person for whom this is working. So I trust hydroxychloroquine. And you?”

He then brandishes a tablet to the camera, pops the tablet in his mouth and washes it down with a glass of water. Over the weekend, Bolsonaro celebrated American Independence with the US ambassador to Brazil, sharing pictures of him in close quarters with the diplomat, several ministers and aides. None of them wore face masks.

The US Embassy said on Twitter that ambassador Todd Chapman is not showing any Covid-19 symptoms but would be tested. Mr Bolsonaro tested negative three times in March after meeting US President Donald Trump in Florida. Members of his delegation to the US were later reported to be infected.Brazil, the world’s sixth-biggest nation, with more than 210 million people, is one of the outbreak’s most lethal hot spots.

Today I’m a lot better, so certainly it’s working

Jair Bolsonaro

More than 65,000 Brazilians have died from Covid-19 and some 1.5 million have been infected. Both numbers are the world’s second-highest totals, behind those of the US, though the true figures are believed to be higher because of a lack of widespread testing. On Tuesday alone, 1,254 deaths were confirmed. Other world leaders who have had bouts with coronavirus include UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince Albert II of Monaco and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.