RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Two Brazilian state governors tested positive for the new coronavirus on Tuesday, in the tourist hotspot of Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon rainforest state of Pará, becoming the latest leaders to get the disease as it spreads across the country.
In a video posted on Twitter, Rio Governor Wilson Witzel said that after not feeling well in recent days, with a fever and sore throat, he requested a test and received the positive result on Tuesday.
Witzel visited a hospital later on Tuesday, where he was undergoing tests to see if he needed to be hospitalized, staffers in his office said.
Pará Governor Helder Barbalho, in a social media post, said he had also tested positive after members of his staff came down with the virus, although he had no symptoms.
Both governors called for people of their states to obey home shelter guidelines to avoid spreading the virus.
“I ask you once again to stay at home. As everyone can tell, the disease doesn’t make exceptions for anyone and the contagion is fast,” Witzel said.
Brazil had a record 204 deaths on Tuesday from COVID-19, the severe respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, the highest death toll for a single day since the outbreak began. More than 1,500 people have died of COVID-19 in Brazil, with more than 25,000 confirmed cases of the disease.
Governors have played a critical role in curbing the spread of the virus by ordering people to stay inside and most businesses to close.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has criticized lockdowns at the local level, saying the outbreak has been blown out of proportion, even though several of his cabinet ministers and closest aides have been infected.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier and Jake Spring; Additional reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun and Eduardo Simoes; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler)