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Brazil’s president in hospital after 10 days of hiccups and may need emergency surgery

Written by on 14/07/2021

Brazil’s president has been admitted to hospital after suffering 10 days of unshakeable hiccups.

Jair Bolsonaro, 66, went into a medical facility in Brasilia early on Wednesday and was “feeling well”, according to his office.

But hours later, he was transferred to Sao Paulo to be assessed for possible emergency surgery to clear an intestinal obstruction.

A photo was posted on Mr Bolsonaro’s Twitter account of him lying on a hospital bed, eyes closed.

The caption said: “We’ll be back soon, God willing. Brazil is ours!”

He was stabbed in the abdomen during the 2018 presidential campaign, an injury that caused intestinal damage and serious internal bleeding.

Several surgeries have been performed on him since, some unrelated to the attack.

More on Brazil

But in recent weeks the right-wing leader has appeared to be struggling to speak, and he has blamed recurring hiccups.

On 7 July, he told Brazil‘s Radio Guaiba: “I apologise to everyone who is listening to me, because I’ve been hiccupping for five days now.

“I have the hiccups 24 hours a day.”

The following day he did a Facebook Live session and apologised again for being affected by hiccups.

The Parque Taruma cemetery in Manaus
Image: Brazil has the world’s second-highest death toll from COVID-19

Mr Bolsonaro is struggling in opinion polls and there are indications he could lose the next election in 2022.

Many Brazilians have turned against him due to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and corruption claims over his government’s purchase of vaccines.

Brazil has the world’s second-highest death toll from the virus, with just over 535,000 people having died, but in March Mr Bolsonaro told Brazilians to stop “whining” and move on from the disease.

On Wednesday, Brazil’s health ministry reported 57,736 new confirmed cases of the virus and 1,556 new deaths.

Mr Bolsonaro caught the virus last year, spending nearly three weeks in isolation at the presidential palace after his diagnosis.

He had spent months dismissing the disease as a “little flu” and insisting that it was not as damaging as the restrictions on business that would be needed to keep it under control.

 Sky News

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