Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he was hopeful that he was through the worst of his coronavirus infection as he reappeared in a video message to the nation.
“I still have COVID but the doctors already tell me that the critical phase is passing,” said the 67-year-old leader from the National Palace, where he has his office and official residence.
“Now, I present myself to you so that there are no rumours,” he added in the video posted on social media on Friday.
“I’m fine although I still have to rest,” he said in a steady voice.
Dressed in a suit, tie and overcoat – but without a face mask – he is seen walking and talking for around 13 minutes through the National Palace.
Lopez Obrador said that while in isolation he continues to work in particular on efforts to secure more vaccines for Mexico, which has one of the world’s highest COVID-19 death tolls at more than 156,000.
The country began a mass immunisation programme on December 24 but like many nations, it is struggling to acquire enough doses.
Lopez Obrador said Mexico expected to receive six million doses from various manufacturers in February and 12 million in March, by when it hopes to have given a first shot to all older adults.
History of heart problems
The left-wing populist, who has a history of heart problems and hypertension, announced Sunday that he was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 but had mild symptoms.
He joins other world leaders who have caught the virus, including former US President Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The health ministry reported on Wednesday that Lopez Obrador had experienced brief episodes of low-grade fever and a slight headache.
The Mexican leader has refused to wear a mask except on rare occasions during the pandemic.
He was accused by critics of downplaying the risks of the virus early in the crisis and of being slow to impose a lockdown.
Both new coronavirus infections and deaths have set daily records this month, leaving hospitals overwhelmed, particularly in Mexico City, which has been in a state of maximum alert since mid-December.