Nearly everyone in Brazil will catch virus: Bolsonaro
Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro has said that nearly everyone will probably end up catching the coronavirus, and he has urged Brazilians to "face up to it", saying there was nothing to fear.
Mr Bolsonaro’s latest bid to downplay the pandemic came as Brazil closed in on the milestone of 100,000 people killed by the virus, the second-highest mortality rate in the world after the United States.
The 65-year-old president, who is just coming off three weeks in self-isolation after himself testing positive for the virus, pointed to his own case as an example.
During a visit to the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, he told journalists: "I'm in the high-risk group, I knew I was going to catch it some day, as I think unfortunately nearly everyone here is going to catch it eventually.
"What are you afraid of? Face up to it.
"I regret the deaths. But people die every day, from lots of things. That's life."
Mr Bolsonaro has faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic as it has surged in Brazil, with more than 2.6 million cases and 92,000 fatalities.
Having compared the virus to a "little flu", he has fought stay-at-home measures to contain it and regularly flouted social distancing guidelines, hitting the streets of Brasilia to exchange handshakes and hugs with supporters.
He tested positive for Covid-19 on 7 July after coming down with a fever, and spent three weeks in isolation at the presidential palace.
On Thursday, in his first public event since his illness, he greeted a crowd of supporters in the northeastern state of Piaui, removing his face mask to loud cheers.
The same day, the president's office announced his wife had tested positive for the virus.
Mr Bolsonaro later revealed he was again feeling poorly and was taking antibiotics for an infection that he called "mouldy lungs" caused by inactivity during his quarantine.
He argues that stay-at-home measures are needlessly hurting the economy and has been pushing the drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a treatment for the virus, saying he took it himself when he was infected, despite numerous studies finding it has no benefit against Covid-19.