Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been infected with coronavirus again. The president of Mexico has confirmed through his Twitter account that he is stable. “Although the symptoms are mild, I will remain in isolation and will only do office work and communicate virtually until I get ahead,” the 68-year-old president announced.
López Obrador appeared at the press conference that he offers daily at the National Palace, the seat of Government, with a hoarse voice. “I think I have a little flu,” said the president a few hours before to confirm the contagion. The source of the contagion has not been disclosed, although the president met last week with Tatiana Clouthier, the economy secretary, who also 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 ahead.
– Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) January 11, 2022
His statements caused controversy because he did exactly the opposite of the protocols that the authorities of Mexico City dictated just over the weekend: isolate himself and assume that he had covid if he presented symptoms of respiratory diseases. López Obrador, criticized on other occasions for minimizing the impact of the pandemic and the new omicron variant, appeared at the press conference without a mask and unburdened his work schedule on Monday normally after holding a meeting with the Secretary of Agriculture, Victor Villalobos.
López Obrador announced that the Secretary of the Interior, Adán Augusto López, will be in charge of replacing him in public appearances in the coming days. “Courage, with the same affection as always!” The president said optimistically in another social media publication, at the height of omicron infections and after breaking the record of cases in a single day last week. The test, according to what he himself said in the morning, was carried out this Monday.
The president had already been infected in January of last year, right in the middle of another spike in infections. On that occasion, López Obrador was kept in confinement with his wife, Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, and their youngest son. The president suffered a heart attack years before assuming the presidency in December 2018 and is hypertensive. Despite his ailments, López Obrador has resisted wearing a mask at public events and has kept an agenda of several trips to the interior of the country during the pandemic.
After announcing his contagion a few minutes after six in the afternoon, several public figures sent him messages of support and wished him a speedy recovery. “Dear President: I hope you will get better very soon,” wrote Hugo López-Gatell, Undersecretary of Health and the main person in charge of the government’s handling of the pandemic. “I send you a solidarity hug from a distance,” added Olga Sánchez Cordero, senator and former Secretary of the Interior who assumed the presidential functions during the previous contagion last year. “All the force”, said, for his part, the head of Government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum.
Deputies, senators, governors and artists have joined the reactions. Also members of the opposition and political rivals. Minutes earlier, the governor of the central state of Guanajuato, the conservative Diego Sinhué, announced that he also contracted the virus. “I will attend the health recommendations and comply with the corresponding isolation,” summarized the politician. Former President Felipe Calderón, who led the country between 2006 and 2012, has also expressed solidarity with the head of state. “I sincerely wish him to get better,” said Calderón, in a call that was also joined by Ricardo Anaya, second place in the presidential elections three years ago. Hours earlier, the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources, María Luisa Albores, also reported that she had been infected. “I feel fine and I will continue to attend to the issues of the environmental sector from home,” said Albores.
The president reappeared in person during the first week of February, after an absence of around 15 days. Days before, he appeared in a recorded message while walking through the government headquarters, in which he announced that he had achieved negotiations with China and Russia to overcome the shortage of vaccines that marked the first months of last year. Last April, the president was vaccinated after overcoming his first infection and received a booster dose of AstraZeneca in early December.
In the event that the disease progresses and temporarily incapacitates the head of State, the Constitution establishes that the position be held provisionally by the head of the Interior, the equivalent of the Minister of the Interior in other countries. While the coronavirus knocks on the doors of the National Palace again and occupies the majority of the headlines of the media, the health authorities have reported more than 11,000 confirmed cases and 78 deaths from covid in the last 24 hours, amid the expansion of omicron through Mexican territory.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.