Mexico's president says he's tested positive for COVID-19
FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2020 file photo, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gives his daily, morning news conference at the presidential palace, Palacio Nacional, in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)
Christopher Sherman, The Associated Press
Published Sunday, January 24, 2021 7:54PM EST
MEXICO CITY - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Sunday he has tested positive for COVID-19 and that the symptoms are mild.
Mexico's president, who has been criticized for his handling of his country's pandemic, said on his official Twitter account that he is under medical treatment.
“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.”
Lopez Obrador, 67, has long been criticized for not setting an example of prevention in public. He has rarely been seen wearing a mask and continued to keep up a busy travel schedule taking commercial flights.
He has resisted locking down the economy, noting the devastating effect it would have on so many Mexicans who live day to day.
Early in the pandemic, asked how he was protecting Mexico, Lopez Obrador removed two religious amulets from his wallet and proudly showed them off.
“The protective shield is the `Get thee behind me, Satan,”' Lopez 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, said that “Mexico is in bad shape” with the pandemic and urged its leaders be serious about the coronavirus and set examples for its citizens.
He didn't name Lopez Obrador, but said: “We would like to ask Mexico to be very serious.”
“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 Lopez Obrador was criticized for still leaning into crowds and giving hugs. The eternal campaigner, Lopez 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 supporters.
Despite his age and high blood pressure, as well as undergoing surgery after a heart attack, Lopez Obrador said he wouldn't jump the line for a vaccination. His concession appeared to be regular testing. In a country that only tests people with significant symptoms, Lopez Obrador gets tested once a week.
At his age and with his existing health conditions Lopez Obrador's turn for a vaccine could still be weeks away as the country still works to vaccinate front line health workers.
As of Sunday night, Mexico had given nearly 630,000 doses of vaccine.
Mexico has registered nearly 150,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 1.7 million infections. Hospitals in the capital have been near capacity for weeks as a surge of cases followed the holiday season.
Lopez 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 vaccine.
The vaccine has not been approved for use in Mexico, but the government is desperate to fill supply gaps for the Pfizer vaccine.