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
"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
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
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
He didn't name Lpez Obrador, but said: "We would like to ask Mexico to be
"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
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
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.