MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday announced he had contracted COVID-19 for a second time, saying he had a mild case and that he would keep working in isolation until he had recovered.
The 68-year-old Lopez Obrador, who also tested positive for COVID-19 in January last year, sounded hoarse during his morning news conference on Monday, prompting him to say he would take a test later in the day.
“Although the symptoms are mild, I will remain in isolation and will only do office work and communicate virtually,” until recovering, Lopez Obrador said in a tweet.
The leftist leader, a former smoker who had a heart attack in 2013, also suffers from hypertension but his previous COVID-19 infection was light, Mexican officials say. Lopez Obrador received an AstraZeneca vaccine booster shot on Dec. 7.
For now, Interior Minister Adan Augusto Lopez will replace the president during his daily morning press conferences and other official acts, Lopez Obrador added.
Critics have attacked the Mexican leader for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, arguing he downplayed its seriousness during the early phase of the health emergency.
He has also rarely been seen in public wearing a face mask, except on planes, and Mexico has imposed comparatively few restrictions on travelers entering the country.
However, he has been very insistent on the need for the public to vaccinate against the virus, and nearly all the adult population of Mexico City has had at least two shots.
As the Omicron variant spreads, Mexico is seeing a jump in infections, with some of the steepest rises coming in states home to beach resorts such as Cancun and Los Cabos popular among visitors from the United States and further afield.
Mexico, which has carried out relatively few tests compared to other countries, on Saturday broke its record for daily COVID-19 infections as it recorded 30,671 new cases.
(Writing by Drazen JorgicEditing by Dave Graham and Christian Schmollinger)