In something of a surprise announcement, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, 68, revealed on social media that he had tested positive for COVID-19, making this the second time he has received such a diagnosis, according to The Hill.
“Even though the symptoms are light, I will remain isolated and only work from the office and hold on-line meetings until further notice,” López Obrador explained .
While the president is recuperating, Adán Augusto López Hernández, the country’s Interior secretary, will handle press conferences and other official events in his stead, as NPR noted.
A pair of Cabinet members, those leading the Economy and Environment departments, respectively, have also recently received positive COVID-19 test results.
According to The Hill, López Obrador’s latest bout with the virus (his first occurred in early 2021) comes amid a alarming surge of new cases across Mexico, with a 186% increase in infections just last week.
Prior to López Obrador’s announcement, the Mexican leader deemed the Omicron coronavirus variant “a little COVID,” told citizens to assume infection if they had symptoms, remain at homée, isolate and avoid a mad rush to find testing options.
“Fortunately, this is a variant that does not have the level of danger as the Delta variant,” the president said, according to Reuters.
Notably, under López Obrador’s leadership, the country has never put mass-testing infrastructure in place, and the president has consistently urged businesses not to make COVID testing mandatory for workers, leading many to assume that the country’s official case count artificially low.
According to a social media post from the president’s wife, Beatriz Guttierez, neither she, nor the couple’s son have tested positive for the virus or experienced any symptoms, and hopefully they will remain healthy, and the president will receive a clean bill of health in the immediate future.