Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador attends the inauguration of an installation of the National Guard in San Luis Posoti, Mexico. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced on Sunday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, amid an intense second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has pushed the health system of the country’s vast capital city close to saturation.
"I regret to inform you that I am infected with Covid-19. The symptoms are mild but I am already undergoing medical treatment," the 67-year-old said in a message on social media.
"As always, I am optimistic. We will come through this together," he said.
The president said in a tweet that his symptoms were light and he was receiving medical treatment.
Lopez Obrador has been criticized for his handling of the pandemic, with a strategy focused on increasing hospital capacity over testing and contact tracing. The country has shied away from mandatory lockdowns, instead opting for a tiered system of restrictions to limit the impact on the economy.
Migrants prepare to board a bus to Toncontin international airport to be tested for COVID-19. AFP
The leftwing populist is rarely seen wearing a mask in public, including at his daily news conferences, and has kept up most of his activities during the pandemic.
The health ministry on Sunday reported 10,872 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 530 fatalities, bringing its totals to 1,763,219 infections and 149,614 deaths, the fourth-highest death toll worldwide.
Hospitals in Mexico City are near capacity because of the surge in cases. The real number of infected people and deaths is likely significantly higher than the official count, the health ministry has said.
Lopez Obrador said on Twitter that his interior minister would run his regular morning news conference in his absence.
“Fortunately, the president is stable at the moment, the symptoms are mild,” said Jose Luis Alomia Zegarra, a Mexican health official, during a daily news conference held shortly after Lopez Obrador announced his diagnosis. “A team of medical specialists is attending to the health of the president.”
Former president Felipe Calderon, a long-time opponent of Lopez Obrador, wished him well. “Sincerely, I wish for the president’s quick recovery,” he said on Twitter.
Lopez Obrador has maintained a busy public schedule during the pandemic and has said he enjoys good health, after suffering a serious heart attack at the age of 60 in 2013.
A health worker checks a patient at the COVID-19 zone of a hospital in Atizapan, Mexico. File/AFP
In the past few days he has travelled to events across the country, including one earlier on Sunday in the central state of San Luis Potosi. His day begins early with a meeting of his security cabinet, followed by a news conference starting at 0700 on weekdays that often runs to two hours or more.
Lopez Obrador said he would still hold a scheduled call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday and keep an eye on public affairs while receiving treatment.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter the leaders’ would address “the future of the bilateral relationship, as well as the supply of Russian vaccines to Mexico.”
The government said this month it aims to acquire 12 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V, with the first potentially arriving as soon as the coming week.
Mexico aims to administer 7.4 million doses of Sputnik V by the end of March, as the country scrambles to quickly secure as great a supply of vaccines as possible.
The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only vaccine being administered in Mexico. The government has said some doses of the Pfizer vaccine could be delayed and private companies will be allowed to purchase the drugs directly as the country struggles to keep rampant infections in check.
US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19 and were going into quarantine, upending the race for the White House.
Eighteen percent of participants in the study published in the British Medical Journal said they got or would get a test after showing symptoms and 42.5% would fully adhere to isolation rules, according to the study.
This is the first time that I have seen “Trump” and “Positive” in the same sentence. Hopefully after he and Melania do their time in isolation, they will come out healthy with a greater understanding of this pandemic and the value of masks and social distancing.
"On this day, we commemorate the bright memory of the Founding Fathers, led by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his brothers, the Founders of the Nation, as well as their determination, wisdom and vision that established the Union.”
After the passing of Sheikh Zayed, Sheikh Khalifa initiated the country’s empowerment phase while President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed launched its sustainability, leadership and excellence phase.
The Voice of America said Wednesday that the Taliban have banned FM radio broadcasts from VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Afghanistan, starting Thursday.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that the 51st UAE National Day is a day to recall lessons of the past, and look at the present with awareness and contemplation, while looking to the future with hope, optimism and confidence.