Third Brazil Minister Is COVID-19 Positive

Despite his falling poll numbers over his poor handling of the pandemic, Evangelical groups still support Bolsanaro, taking part in a demonstration in support of the Jair Bolsonaro's government in front of the Congress in Brasilia, on July 19, 2020 armed with a cross. (Photo by EVARISTO SA/AFP via Getty Images)
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BRASILIA, Brazil, Tues. July 21, 2020 (Reuters) – Brazil’s minister of Citizenship, Onyx Lorenzoni, said on Monday he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

He is the third minister infected with COVID-19 in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, who also tested positive for the disease earlier in July after coming down with a fever.

In his Twitter account, Lorenzoni said he started to feel the symptoms last Thursday and took the coronavirus test on Friday. The minister added he is being treated with a combination of drugs that includes chloroquine from which his body is showing “positive effects”.

Bolsonaro, himself a longtime advocate of the supposed virtues of the malaria drug to fight COVID-19, is also taking hydroxychloroquine and credits its use to his mild symptoms.

Brazil reported 2,098,389 confirmed cases of coronavirus by Sunday, with a total death toll of almost 80,000.

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro’s low approval ratings rose for a third consecutive month, a poll showed on Monday, as the perception of his handling of the coronavirus crisis and the economy’s direction continued to improve gradually. The latest monthly XP/Ipespe poll findings come as the coronavirus-related deaths and cases also continue rising, cementing Brazil’s place as the world’s second-biggest hotspot for the pandemic after the United States.

The news comes as The New Development Bank of the “BRICS” group of leading emerging economies will lend Brazil $1 billion to help combat the economic damage from the COVID-19 crisis, the institution said on Monday.

The funds will be allocated to the federal government’s emergency aid payment program, which the NDB estimates could benefit 5 million informal workers, low-income families and unemployed people.

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)