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Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus he has played down as 'little flu'

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Hit by fever: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he began feeling ill on Sunday

Hit by fever: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he began feeling ill on Sunday

REUTERS

Hit by fever: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he began feeling ill on Sunday

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said yesterday he had tested positive for coronavirus, adding in a television interview that he was in good health despite running a fever.

The right-wing populist, who has played down the severity of the virus which he has called a "little flu", took the test on Monday after developing symptoms.

In the interview broadcast on state-run TV Brasil, Mr Bolsonaro said he began feeling ill on Sunday and had been taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug with unproven effectiveness against Covid-19.

Brazil has the world's second-largest outbreak behind the United States. Latin America's largest country has more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and 65,000 Covid-19 deaths.

Mr Bolsonaro has repeatedly defied local guidelines to wear a face mask in public, even after a judge ordered him to do so in late June. Mr Bolsonaro has also railed against social-distancing rules supported by the World Health Organisation.

Meanwhile, people who test positive for coronavirus but refuse hospital treatment could face a prison sentence under a new regulation introduced in Italy's north-eastern region of Veneto.

The order by Governor Luca Zaia says that until the end of July hospitals must tell the public prosecutor's office of anyone refusing admission after testing positive.

Anyone returning to Veneto, which includes Venice, must also be given two compulsory swab tests, the regional order says if they are returning from a business trip outside the European Union or a non-Schengen country.

Under Italian law, anyone who negligently spreads an epidemic risks a prison sentence up to 12 years, while anyone who does so wilfully may face up to life imprisonment.

In the US, President Donald Trump is pushing for schools to reopen in the autumn and hosted White House events on the topic yesterday, despite a steady increase in coronavirus infections across the country led by younger Americans and rising hospitalisations in many states.

Mr Trump, who is seeking re-election in November, tweeted "SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" as local officials across the country began pausing or scaling back their reopenings due to the surge in infections.

Irish Independent