Bolsonaro says he feels ‘very well’, praises hydroxycholoroquine

After WHO concludes controversial drug doesn’t help treat COVID-19, Brazilian president says ‘it worked’ for him, days after confirming he was infected

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro waves outside Alvorada Palace in Brasilia on July 9, 2020. (Photo by EVARISTO SA / AFP)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro waves outside Alvorada Palace in Brasilia on July 9, 2020. (Photo by EVARISTO SA / AFP)

BRASILIA, Brazil — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has tested positive for COVID-19, said on Facebook Thursday that he was “very well” and again advocated the use of the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine.

Bolsonaro, 65, appeared in his weekly Facebook Live post at his official residence. He appeared to be in good shape and was not accompanied, as is often the case, by ministers or senior officials, and the usual sign language interpreter was not present.

Since the beginning of the crisis, the far-right president has dismissed the seriousness of the epidemic and criticized containment measures ordered by governors in Brazilian states.

Bolsonaro said that after feeling unwell at the end of last week, he had started taking one hydroxychloroquine tablet every day.

A bottle of hydroxychloroquine tablets in Texas City, Texas, April 7, 2020. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

The drug, originally tested to fight malaria, has been pushed as a treatment for COVID-19 in many countries — but its effectiveness has not been formally proven and the issue is deeply dividing the global scientific community.

The World Health Organization this week halted trials on the drug, claiming it does not help against the disease.

“I’m saying this very clearly,” Bolsonaro said in his video. “I took (hydroxychloroquine) and it worked, and I’m fine, thank God. And let those who criticize it at least offer an alternative.”

He did, however, deny making “propaganda for hydroxychloroquine.”

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro removes his mask to speak to journalists after a press conference on the new coronavirus, at the Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Brazil on March 18, 2019. (AP/Andre Borges)

Brazil is currently the second country hardest-hit country in the world by the pandemic, behind the United States.

The death toll on Thursday was 69,184, with an increase of 1,224 in the previous 24 hours.

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