July 7, 2020 / 7:39 PM / a month ago

Timeline: Key moments in Bolsonaro's handling of COVID-19 crisis

(Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday tested positive for COVID-19, the latest victim of a disease that has wreaked havoc in Brazil, the world’s No. 2 coronavirus hotspot after the United States.

FILE PHOTO: Federal deputy Jair Bolsonaro of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), a pre-candidate for Brazil's presidential election, attends a debate at the Industry Confederation event in Brasilia, Brazil July 4, 2018. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

Below is a chronology of the key moments of the outbreak:

Feb. 26 - Brazil’s Health Ministry confirms first coronavirus case in Latin America.

March 12 - Brazil’s presidential communications secretary tests positive for COVID-19 after returning from Florida where he and Bolsonaro met with U.S. President Donald Trump.

March 13 - Bolsonaro says he tested negative for COVID-19.

March 15 - Ignoring medical advice to quarantine, Bolsonaro takes selfies with supporters at a rally in Brasilia.

March 20 - Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta says the virus poses an existential threat to Brazil’s fragile healthcare system, which could start to collapse in April.

March 24 - Bolsonaro urges mayors and state governors to roll back lockdown measures in a televised national address.

April 16 - Bolsonaro fires Mandetta, with whom he had clashed over social distancing measures.

May 8 - British medical journal The Lancet says Bolsonaro is the biggest threat to Brazil’s ability to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

May 12 - Brazil’s confirmed coronavirus cases total passes Germany, as Bolsonaro tries to reopen gyms and beauty parlors by presidential decree.

May 15 - Bolsonaro loses his second health minister in less than a month after Nelson Teich resigns due to differences over the use of antimalarial drugs in treating COVID-19.

May 18 - Brazil overtakes Britain to become the country with the third-highest number of infections, behind the United States and Russia.

May 20 - The Health Ministry, led by an active-duty army general on an interim basis, issues new guidelines for wider use of unproven antimalarial drugs in mild coronavirus cases.

May 22 - Brazil overtakes Russia to become the world No. 2 hotspot for coronavirus cases after the United States.

May 24 - U.S. limits travel from Brazil amid worsening coronavirus outbreak.

June 6 - Brazil removes from public view months of data on its COVID-19 epidemic. “The cumulative data ... does not reflect the moment the country is in,” Bolsonaro says on Twitter.

June 9 - Brazil restores the data following a Supreme Court ruling.

June 12 - Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll passes Britain to become world’s second highest after the United States.

June 19 - Brazil passes 1 million cases.

June 21 - Brazil passes 50,000 deaths.

June 23 - A judge orders Bolsonaro to wear a mask in public after he attended political rallies without one.

July 3 - Brazil passes 1.5 million cases.

July 7 - Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; and Leslie Adler

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