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Bolsonaro in hospital as hiccups persist for more than 10 days

Bolsonaro in hospital as hiccups persist for more than 10 days

The Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been admitted to hospital complaining of abdominal pain after being struck down by an unremitting bout of the hiccups which has lasted for more than 10 days.

Bolsonaro, 66, was reportedly taken to military hospital in the capital Brasília at about 4am on Wednesday, with one prominent Brazilian journalist claiming the president was suffering from a bowel obstruction.

In a brief statement, the presidency said Bolsonaro was in good spirits and doing well but would remain under observation for up to 48 hours. Tests were being carried out to investigate what was causing the hiccups.

The Folha de São Paulo newspaper reported that Antônio Luiz Macedo, the surgeon who operated on Bolsonaro after he was stabbed shortly before his 2018 election, was on his way to the hospital.

The state of Bolsonaro’s health has been the subject of growing media speculation in recent days after Brazil’s far-right leader made a succession of public appearances in which he visibly struggled to speak.

During a trip to southern Brazil last Friday, Bolsonaro reportedly had to abandon a dinner after feeling ill. In a recent social media broadcast, Bolsonaro said his hiccups problem had started after he underwent dental surgery on 3 June, and blamed it on drugs he had been prescribed.

The Folha said Bolsonaro had undergone a series of surgical procedures since his election-trail stabbing, an event many believe helped propel him to the presidency. Less than two months later he won a landslide election victory against his leftwing rival, Fernando Haddad.

In recent weeks Bolsonaro has been plunged into what analysts call the worst moment of his two-and-a-half-year presidency, with his popularity in free-fall amid mounting public anger over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and failure to secure sufficient vaccines.

More than 535,000 Brazilians have been killed by an illness Bolsonaro has trivialized as a “little flu” and polls suggest Brazil’s president will fail to win a second term in next year’s presidential election.


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