Mexico's president tests positive for Covid-19

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. — AFP
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. — AFP

Mexico City - Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says his the symptoms are mild and he is under treatment


Published: Mon 25 Jan 2021, 6:56 AM

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday that he has tested positive for Covid-19 and that the symptoms are mild.

The president, who has been criticised for handling of his country’s pandemic and for not setting an example of prevention in public, said on his official Twitter account that he is under medical treatment.

“I regret to inform you that I am infected with Covid-19,” he tweeted. “The symptoms are mild but I am already under medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic. We will all move forward.”

Jose Luis Alomia Zegarra, Mexico’s director of epidemiology, said Lopez Obrador had a “light” case of Covid-19 and was “isolating at home”.

Mexico’s president wrote that while he recovered Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero would be taking over for him in his daily news conferences, at which he usually speaks for two hours without breaks each weekday.

Lopez Obrador, 67, has rarely been seen wearing a mask and continued to keep up a busy travel schedule taking commercial flights.

He has also resisted locking down the economy, noting the devastating effect it would have on so many Mexicans who live day to day, despite that the country has registered nearly 150,000 Covid-19 deaths and more than 1.7 million infections. Last week, the country registered its highest levels of infections and deaths to date.

Early in the pandemic, asked how he was protecting Mexico, Lopez Obrador removed two religious amulets from his wallet and proudly showed them off.

“The protective shield is the ‘Get thee behind me, Satan,’” Lopez Obrador said, reading off the inscription on the amulet.

In November, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, urged Mexico’s leaders be serious about the coronavirus and set examples for its citizens, saying that “Mexico is in bad shape” with the pandemic.

He didn’t name Lopez Obrador, but said: “We would like to ask Mexico to be very serious.

“We have said it in general, wearing a mask is important, hygiene is important and physical distancing is important and we expect leaders to be examples,” he added.

At the start of the pandemic Lopez Obrador was criticised for still leaning into crowds and giving hugs. The eternal campaigner, Lopez Obrador’s style of politics has always been very hands on and personal. As the pandemic grew, he began limiting attendance to his events and maintaining his distance from supporters.

Despite his age and high blood pressure, as well as undergoing surgery after a heart attack, Lopez Obrador has said he won’t jump the line for a vaccination. But he was getting tested for the coronavirus once a week.

Obrador’s turn for a vaccine could still be weeks away as the country still works to vaccinate front line health workers.

Besides Lopez Obrador, other Latin American leaders who have tested positive for the coronavirus are Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, Guatemala’s Alejandro Giammattei, Honduras’ Juan Orlando Hernandez and Bolivia’s then-interim President Jeanine Anez. All have recovered.

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