BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday attended his first public event since recovering from COVID-19, though he declined to speak.
Brazil’s president is typically last to address at the presidential palace, but Bolsonaro only watched the event recognizing women who work in rural areas around Latin America and left the room once it ended. He wore a mask throughout the event.
Bolsonaro consistently downplayed the coronavirus’ severity during the pandemic, and he often joined supporters and took outings from the presidential residence, sometimes without a mask.
On July 7, he told reporters he had tested positive for COVID-19, then spent more than two weeks confined to the presidential residence while participating in meetings by video call.
On Saturday, he announced he had tested negative and left his home, rode a motorcycle around Brasilia and took photos with some well-wishers.
Bolsonaro said he experienced only minor symptoms during his convalescence and took to social media to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine for treatment.
On the final days before announcing his recovery, Bolsonaro began participating in the daily flag-lowering ceremony in front of the residence. He remained separated by a reflecting pool from the few dozen supporters who attended.
Later Wednesday, his administration lifted an order that has blocked foreigners from entering the country by air since late March because of the COVID-19 crisis.
It said foreigners will be allowed entry at Brazilian airports if they present before boarding their flights health insurance valid in Brazil during the period of their stay. Four minor airports will remain closed to foreign travelers, but the government’s decision includes the main airports of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
While it lifted restrictions for foreigners arriving by air, the government extended for another 30 days a rule prohibiting foreigners from entering Brazil by land or sea unless they are a permanent resident of Brazil, a diplomat on an official mission or someone transporting cargo.