Portugal’s President, 72, tests positive for coronavirus

LISBON, PORTUGAL (AP) — The office of the Portuguese President said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has tested positive for the coronavirus although the veteran politician has no symptoms.

Rebelo de Sousa is 72. He took office in 2016 and is seeking a second term in the country’s presidential election on January 24.

A laboratory test using the so-called PCR technique late on Monday revealed that the President was positive for the virus, despite an antigen test having come out negative earlier in the day, his office said in a statement late on Monday.

The President is self-isolating in a residential area in Belem, in the west of central Lisbon and has suspended all his agenda for coming days, it said.

As the head of state, the President is largely a figurehead in Portugal, where the Prime Minister and his Cabinet are in charge of day-to-day affairs. He wields large influence nevertheless, and he holds the authority to appoint the prime minister and dissolve Parliament.

Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. PHOTO: AP