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Mexico’s president tests positive for coronavirus a second time

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico's president, speaks during a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City on Dec. 21. (Alejandro Cegarra/Bloomberg News)
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MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday evening that, for the second time in a year, he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

López Obrador was visibly ill at a Monday morning news conference, and without a mask as he spoke to reporters. When one reporter commented on his apparent symptoms, López Obrador, known by his initials, AMLO, responded that he “woke up hoarse.”

“I'm going to take the test later, but I think it's the flu,” he said.

He later tweeted that he had tested positive.

“I inform you that I am infected with #COVID19 and although the symptoms are mild, I will remain in isolation and will only do office work and communicate virtually until I get better,” he wrote. The secretary of the Interior Department, Adán Augusto López Hernández, will fill in for him at daily news conferences and other appearances, the president added.

The Mexican press seized on López Obrador’s decision to appear in public without a face covering despite showing symptoms.

“Don’t do an AMLO and self isolate if you have flu-like symptoms,” read a headline in the El Financiero newspaper.

Members of the Mexican press corps expressed frustration that they might now have to quarantine because of the president’s behavior.

Guidance from Mexico’s health department tells people to go to a medical center “at the slightest suspicion” of symptoms. “Protect our health and that of those around us,” it advises.

López Obrador tested positive for the first time in January 2021 and said he experienced light symptoms. After the positive test last year, Aeroméxico quarantined its crew that had been traveling with the president, who prides himself in flying economy instead of in a presidential plane.

The populist and leftist leader has been criticized for frequently traveling across the country, meeting and taking selfies with supporters while not wearing a mask. Earlier in the pandemic, he had said the virus could be warded off with religious amulets.

Many government workers who would normally wear masks often removed them when López Obrador was around, political analyst Carlos Bravo Regidor noted to The Post at the time of the president’s positive test, “probably as a very screwed-up sign of discipline or deference.”

Mexico has surpassed its August coronavirus peak, with more than 19,200 new cases being recorded each day on a weekly average, according to Our World in Data. More than 300,000 Mexicans have died of covid-19, according to the World Health Organization. The country has had a relatively rapid vaccine rollout compared with others in the region.

Pietsch reported from Seoul.

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