Mexico Pres. Tests Positive for COVID 01/25 06:10

Mexico Pres. Tests Positive for COVID  01/25 06:10

   

   MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexican President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador said he 
has tested positive for COVID-19, an announcement that comes as his country 
registers the highest levels of infections and deaths to date.

   Lpez Obrador, who has been criticized for his handling of Mexico's pandemic 
and for not setting an example of prevention in public, said Sunday on his 
official Twitter account that his symptoms are mild and 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."

   Jos Luis Aloma Zegarra, Mexico's director of epidemiology, said the 
67-year-old Lpez Obrador had a "light" case of COVID-19 and was "isolating at 
home."

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

   Despite his age and high blood pressure, Lpez Obrador has not received a 
vaccine shot even though Mexico has already received a batch of Pfizer-BioNTech 
doses. He has said that health workers would be the first ones to get them. 
Under the government plan, people over 60 will start being vaccinated in 
February.

   Lpez Obrador 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. A new wave of infections has pushed the health system of the 
country's capital city close to saturation.

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

   "The protective shield is the 'Get thee behind me, Satan,'" Lpez Obrador 
said, reading off the inscription on the amulet, "Stop, enemy, for the Heart of 
Jesus is with me.

   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 Lpez 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 Lpez Obrador was criticized for still leaning 
into crowds and giving hugs. The eternal campaigner, Lpez 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.

   But on Friday, Lpez Obrador posted a photo of him, Foreign Minister Marcelo 
Ebrard, a translator and former chief of staff Alfonso Romo, all gathered 
around a table for a phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden. None were 
wearing masks; the foreign relations department has not answered questions 
about whether Ebrard has been tested.

   Lpez Obrador's announcement came shortly after news emerged that he would 
speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday about obtaining doses of 
the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

   Mexico Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said via Twitter the two 
leaders would speak about the bilateral relationship and supplying doses of the 
vaccine.

   The vaccine has not been approved for use in Mexico, but the government is 
desperate to fill supply gaps for the Pfizer vaccine.

   Besides Lpez 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 Hernndez and Bolivia's 
then-interim President Jeanine Anz. All have recovered.

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