Accessibility links

Breaking News

For Brazil’s Bolsonaro: A Week of Isolation, Hydroxychloroquine

FILE - Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks with journalists while wearing a protective face mask as he arrives at Alvorada Palace, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brasilia, Brazil.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro spent his first week in isolation doing the things he'd scoffed at for months: wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing.

Bolsonaro, who said Tuesday he had tested positive for the coronavirus, is taking the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine. On Saturday, his wife said her test and those of her two daughters came back negative.

Bolsonaro, who said his symptoms are aches, fever and malaise, has a new routine of virtual meetings and Facebook live broadcasts spent in the company of a few aides who had previously tested positive. Not so long ago Bolsonaro was attending rallies and going out to mix and mingle.

“I’m sorry I can’t interact with you here. Not even next week will it be possible, because I think I will not yet be completely free of the virus, so I will not have anyone on my side here,” Bolsonaro said on his weekly Facebook broadcast Thursday.

Brazil, with 1,071 new deaths Saturday, has a total of nearly 71,500 deaths and 1.9 million confirmed cases. The South American nation trails only the United States in cases and deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Worldwide, there are more than 12.6 million confirmed cases and more than 560,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

In Iran on Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani said the nation’s economy must stay open despite a rise in the number of coronavirus infections. He called for a ban on large gatherings, such as at weddings and wakes, to limit the spread of the virus.

Iran reported Saturday that in the previous 24 hours, there had been 2,397 new COVID-19 cases and 188 deaths related to the virus, for a more than 255,000 confirmed cases and a death toll of more than 12,600. The country, which has a population of more than 80 million, ranks ninth globally in the number of cases and deaths due to the coronavirus.

“We must ban ceremonies and gatherings all over the country, whether it be wakes, weddings or parties,” Rouhani said, according to a Reuters report. Shortly after he spoke, Tehran police closed all wedding and mourning venues until further notice, the wire service reported.

Also Saturday, in India, Biocon, an Indian biopharmaceutical company, told Reuters it had received regulatory approval for its drug Itolizumab to be used in India on coronavirus-infected patients suffering from moderate to severe respiratory distress.

Itolizumab also is used to cure the skin disease psoriasis.

India, with a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, has recorded 820,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and a death toll of 22,000.

In Australia, Victoria’s capital city of Melbourne has begun a six-week lockdown because of a spike in coronavirus cases.

“Nobody is enjoying being locked at home. It is frustrating, it is challenging, but the strategy will be successful if we all play our part,” Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria state, said Saturday.

Victoria reported 216 new cases Saturday, down from 288 Friday.

“We will see more and more additional cases,” Andrews said. “This is going to be with us for months and months.”

Australia’s seven other states and territories reported 11 new cases Saturday.

Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease expert, warned that the pandemic is worsening in the U.S. because the country lacks a coherent strategy to contain the virus.

“As a country, when we compare ourselves to other countries, I don’t think you can say we are doing great. I mean, we’re just not,” Fauci said in a recent interview.

Fauci suggested earlier this week that states struggling to combat the virus “should seriously look at shutting down,” despite state efforts to reopen in order to revive their economies.

Dozens of U.S. Marines have been infected on the Japanese island of Okinawa, officials said. They said the U.S. military asked that the exact figure not be released.

“We now have strong doubts that the U.S. military has taken adequate disease prevention measures," Gov. Denny Tamaki told reporters.

On Saturday, the United States reported more than 66,000 new infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the latest in a string of record-breaking days.

The U.S. remains the hardest-hit country, with about one-quarter of all confirmed infections and fatalities worldwide. As of late Saturday, more than 3.2 million people in the U.S. had contracted the virus and more than 134,000 had died from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University.

On Saturday, Disney World in the Southern U.S. state of Florida opened to tourists after nearly four months, with guidelines in place to help prevent spreading the coronavirus.

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened Saturday; Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open next week.

Among the many guidelines put in place: a mandatory mask rule, social distancing required; guests will not be allowed to hop between parks; and the popular daily fireworks shows and parades have been suspended to help limit drawing large crowds.