Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus
PIC: AFP

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and that the symptoms are mild.

Mexico's president, who has been criticised for his handling of his country's pandemic and for not setting an example of prevention in public, said on his official Twitter account that he is under medical treatment.

"I regret to inform you that I am infected with COVID-19," he tweeted. "The symptoms are mild but I am already under medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic. We will all move forward." José Luis Alomía Zegarra, Mexico's director of epidemiology, said López Obrador had a "light" case of COVID-19 and was "isolating at home." Mexico's president wrote that while he recovered Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero would be taking over for him in his daily news conferences, at which he usually speaks for two hours without breaks each weekday.

López Obrador, 67, has rarely been seen wearing a mask and continued to keep up a busy travel schedule taking commercial flights.

He has also resisted locking down the economy, noting the devastating effect it would have on so many Mexicans who live day to day, despite that the country has registered nearly 150,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 1.7 million infections.

Last week, the country registered its highest levels of infections and deaths to date.

Early in the pandemic, asked how he was protecting Mexico, López Obrador removed two religious amulets from his wallet and proudly showed them off.

"The protective shield is the Get thee behind me, Satan,'" López Obrador said, reading off the inscription on the amulet, "Stop, enemy, for the Heart of Jesus is with me.

In November, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, urged Mexico's leaders be serious about the coronavirus and set examples for its citizens, saying that "Mexico is in bad shape" with the pandemic.

He didn't name López Obrador, but said: "We would like to ask Mexico to be very serious." "We have said it in general, wearing a mask is important, hygiene is important and physical distancing is important and we expect leaders to be examples," he added.

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