President López Obrador said Thursday that he had tested negative for Covid-19 but would have to wait a few more days before making a full return to public life.
“I’m very pleased to tell you that I did an antigen test this morning and I was negative. Of course I still have to wait a few more days but I’m now in good health, I’m recovering from Covid,” López Obrador said in a video message.
He thanked the Mexicans and foreigners who showed concern for his health, wished him well, prayed for him and sent him “blessings” and “good vibes” since he announced that he had tested positive for Covid-19 on January 24.
Earlier on Thursday, López Obrador was filmed walking through a garden of the National Palace with two government officials. Contrary to his usual custom during the pandemic, he was wearing a face mask.
According to government officials who provided updates on his health during the past 11 days, the president – a former smoker with a history of high blood pressure who suffered a heart attack in 2013 – has only suffered mild symptoms of the infectious disease.
Interior Minister Olga Sánchez, who has stood in for López Obrador at the government’s morning news conferences, said Thursday that the president’s medical team will decide when he can return to his public activities, including the weekday pressers that have become a defining feature of his presidency.
Sánchez said earlier this week that AMLO, as the president is known, could return to the press conferences on Monday but on Thursday declined to confirm that would be the case.
“I don’t know how his doctors will assess him. I’d be very happy if he could return to the morning press conferences [on Monday] because he provides a very important personal touch, but it depends on his doctors,” she said.
Later on Thursday, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said the president will have to be given the all-clear from a medical and epidemiological point of view before returning to his full duties. His blood pressure and other health indicators will need to be under control and it will have to be established that the president can no longer transmit the virus, he said.
López Obrador is one of several world leaders who have contracted the coronavirus. Among them are former United States president Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Those three countries and Mexico are all in the top five for Covid-19 deaths. The odd country out is India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi has remained virus-free despite the country ranking second for case numbers and fourth for deaths.
Mexico’s confirmed case tally rose to just under 1.9 million on Thursday – the 13th highest total in the world – with 13,575 new cases reported. Covid-19 fatalities increased by 1,682 to 162,922, the third highest death toll after those of the United States and Brazil.