Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly tested positive for COVID-19 and who was stabbed while on the campaign trail in 2018, has been hospitalised according to a Reuters report. The reason cited was to identify the cause of “chronic hiccups”, the report says.
Bolsonaro, 66, was placed in a military hospital in Brasilia, and will be under observation for 24-48 hours. A statement from his office said he is “feeling good and doing well”.
According to local media outlet G1, he had been admitted after feeling abdominal pains early on Wednesday. In his national address last Thursday, he appeared to be struggling to speak, and had mentioned that he was facing hiccups for a week.
Concerns remain over the lingering effects of the attack on his person in 2018, when a person who was later deemed “mentally ill” stabbed the then presidential-candidate. Bolsonaro suffered a deep and life-threatening wound to his intestines and lost 40 per cent of his blood, but recovered following surgery. He was placed in intensive care, fed nitravenously and had to have a colostomy bag fitted, which was later removed.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bolsonaro, who repeatedly downplayed the threat posed by the virus, tested positive for it three times. He has often been seen in public without a mask and has dismissed the virus as a “little flu”.
Brazil has suffered one of the highest mortality rates due to COVID-19, with 5.36 lakh deaths recorded so far—with the real toll estimated to be much larger. Bolsonaro has called his own health ministry’s death tolls exaggerated.