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Brazil's Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus again

Bolsonaro said he is not experiencing symptoms and that his use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which he said he has been taking since he was diagnosed last week, is working.

FILE: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures during a press conference regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic at the Planalto Palace, Brasilia. Picture: AFP

BRASILIA - Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro announced Wednesday that he still has the coronavirus, after undergoing a new test the day before.

"I'm fine, thank God. Yesterday morning, I took the test, and in the evening the result was that I am still positive for the coronavirus," the far-right leader said in a Facebook Live broadcast from the gardens of his official residence in Brasilia.

Bolsonaro said he is not experiencing symptoms and that his use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which he said he has been taking since he was diagnosed last week, is working.

"I am not recommending anything. I recommend that you talk to your doctor. In my case, a military doctor recommended hydroxychloroquine, and it worked," he said.

The presidential press office said in a brief statement that Bolsonaro, who at 65 is in a high-risk group, will remain in quarantine at the official Alvorada Palace residence, where he will continue to work by video conference.

The far-right president, who has caused huge controversy in Brazil for repeatedly flouting lockdown measures in place to curb the spread of the virus, first tested positive a week ago.

He admitted on Monday by telephone interview with CNN that he "can't stand this routine of staying at home" and said he was waiting "anxiously" to be given the all-clear to leave the house.

He told the television channel he hasn't had any symptoms such as a fever or respiratory difficulties since 6 July.

And he added that he continues to take the anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine.

The drug 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.

He is due to take a new test "in the coming days."

Since his diagnosis on July 7, Bolsonaro has been confined to the presidential palace alongside other people who have already contracted the virus.

It's a far cry from his regular daily routine that includes leaving the residence to greet his supporters, often while ignoring social distancing measures and without wearing a face mask.

As well as taking part in video calls, Bolsonaro has been seen feeding rheas - a bird species native to South America that is related to the ostrich and emu - in the gardens of the official residence. One even pecked him.

Brazil is the second worst-hit country in the world by the coronavirus after the United States, with more than 74,000 dead and 1.9 million cases.