Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has tested positive for COVID-19 after facing criticism for his laissez-faire approach to the virus.
“I regret to inform you that I am infected with COVID-19,” he tweeted on Sunday. “The symptoms are mild but I am already under medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic. We will all move forward.”
López Obrador has a history of cardiac issues, suffering a massive heart attack in 2013.
López Obrador, 67, has been openly resistant to lockdowns and repeatedly dismissed the virus’s health risks.
“Pandemics won’t do anything to us,” he said in March of last year. That summer the president told reporters he wouldn’t wear a mask until Mexico had eliminated corruption: “Then I’ll put on a mask and I’ll stop talking.”
The virus has killed nearly 150,000 citizens.
Days before he announced his positive result, the president took a commercial flight, potentially infecting dozens of others. Jesus Ortega, a former leader of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) opposition Party, slammed López Obrador for the move.
“How irresponsible and careless of him just to get onto a flight knowing that he might be infected,” Ortega said. “The problem is he’s the president. If the president violates the health guidelines, he’s setting a bad example to others.”
In other news, on Friday, President Joe Biden spoke to López Obrador Friday in the hopes of establishing a relationship with the Mexican leader who previously had a close relationship with Donald Trump.
“I think the administration, and particularly President Biden, believe in letting bygones be bygones. He wants to build a constructive relationship going forward,” said the former Mexican ambassador to the US Arturo Sarukhan, per CNN.