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Mask-avoiding Mexican President down with Covid

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador down with Covid (IANS)

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday that he had tested positive for Covid-19, as the second wave of the pandemic surges in the country.

The 67-year-old president, who has avoided wearing a mask, said in a tweet that “his symptoms were light and he was receiving medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic.”

Lopez Obrador has come under severe criticism for not taking adequate steps to control the pandemic.  He has avoided going in for mandatory lockdowns in order to limit the adverse impact on the economy.  Mexico also has not given sufficient emphasis to carrying out the required testing and contact tracing of Covid patients.

The health ministry on Sunday reported 10,872 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 530 fatalities, bringing its totals to 1,763,219 infections and 149,614 deaths, the fourth-highest death toll worldwide.

Hospitals in Mexico City are near capacity because of the surge in cases. The real number of infected people and deaths is likely significantly higher than the official count, the health ministry has said.

Lopez Obrador said on Twitter that his interior minister would run his regular morning news conference in his absence.

Lopez Obrador has maintained a busy public schedule during the pandemic. In the past few days he has travelled to events across the country, including one earlier on Sunday in the central state of San Luis Potosi.

Lopez Obrador said he would still hold a scheduled call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.  Mexico has asked Russia for 12 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine to combat the pandemic.