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Bathers banned from Rio's beaches as Brazil starts to take coronavirus seriously

Police officers have been removing sunbathers from Brazil's iconic Copacobana beach as the country's coronavirus death toll continues to spiral.

Brazil - a country widely feared to be the next coronavirus epicentre - reported 631 deaths yesterday bringing its overall death toll to 72,100.

Beaches in tourist hot-spot Rio de Janeiro are open but the city has ruled that visitors can only use them for exercise and water sports in a bid to slow the spread of the killer virus.

Municipal police officers were pictured removing sunbathers who flout the rules. 

It comes after Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, 65, revealed that he had contracted Covid-19 - after spending months flouting social distancing recommendations and mostly shunning masks.

Police officers have been removing sunbathers from Brazil's iconic Copacobana beach as the country's coronavirus death toll continues to spiral

Municipal police officers were pictured removing sunbathers who flout the rules

Beaches in tourist hot-spot Rio de Janeiro are open but the city has ruled that visitors can only use them for exercise and water sports in a bid to slow the spread of the killer virus

Visitors were seen enjoying the sunshine on the beach in Rio de Janeiro. Anyone flouting lockdown rules were asked to leave

It comes after Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, 65, revealed that he had contracted Covid-19

But now both coronavirus precautions have become part of his cloistered life this week at the official residence in capital Brasilia.

Bolsonaro announced on Tuesday that he tested positive for the virus and had experienced fever, aches and malaise. 

He scrapped a trip he had planned to northeastern Piaui state, and all his meetings for the week were converted to video calls.

One was with former congressman Roberto Jefferson, president of the conservative PTB party. 

Jefferson said he went to the presidential Planalto Palace and sat in front of a large television where he could see Bolsonaro in a makeshift office at his residence.

Families were pictured playing in the sea in Brazil's iconic Copacabana on Sunday

'I found the president well, flushed, willing. In very good health,' Jefferson said Saturday. 'I only saw him cough once, when I made a joke.'

Since his diagnosis, Bolsonaro has held virtual meetings almost every day with Jorge Oliveira, secretary-general of government, to sign official documents. According to Oliveira's office, a protocol was created so work could be carried out digitally.

This was also how Bolsonaro interviewed candidates to head the education ministry, he said on Facebook on Thursday. The following day, he named to the post Milton Ribeiro, a former deputy dean of Mackenzie University in Sao Paulo who preaches at a Presbyterian church in Santos, outside the metropolis.

Only a few aides who were previously infected by the new coronavirus could get close to Bolsonaro during the week, one of them said on Tuesday. The person declined to be named, citing lack of authorization to speak with journalists. 

A couple were pictured walking along the sea front as they enjoyed a trip to the beach in Brazil

Dozens of visitors flocked to the seaside in Brazil. The rules state they are only open for water sports and exercise

Sunbathers were seen soaking up the rays in protective face masks as police officers are seen in the distance

Bolsonaro also spent some time in the afternoons in front of the palace with photojournalists 400 yards away, on the other side of a garden. He had met his supporters by that garden until his diagnosis, but no longer.

The new routine marks a stark change for Bolsonaro, who spent months attending rallies with his fans, heading out to bakeries and food trucks to mix and mingle. 

He sometimes declined to wear a mask. He has scoffed at the restrictions mayors and governors implemented to contain the spread of the virus, arguing their economic impacts would cause more suffering than the virus, which he repeatedly called 'a little flu.'

Bolsonaro took hydroxychloroquine pills for five days, Monday through Friday, according to a member of the presidential medical team who asked to not be identified, citing patient confidentiality and because the person isn't authorized to speak publicly. 

The drug has no proven effect on the treatment of Covid-19 and can cause side effects such as cardiac arrhythmia, according to medical studies. 

As a result, Bolsonaro was subjected to electrocardiograms and blood tests, the person said.

Brazil - a country widely feared to be the next coronavirus epicentre - reported 631 deaths yesterday bringing its overall death toll to 72,100. Pictured: Volunteers spray disinfectant in Babilonia slum in Rio de Janeiro

A volunteer sprays disinfectant in an alleyway to help contain the spread of coronavirus at the Babilonia slum of Rio de Janeiro

Brazil's presidential press office said in a statement that the president has experienced no medical problems with his treatment.

The aide who spoke on condition of anonymity said Bolsonaro slept in a different bedroom to keep the first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, safe. He lives with her, his daughter and step-daughter.

On Saturday, the first lady shared a photo of her COVID-19 test results showing she was not infected.

'My daughters and I tested negative for COVID-19,' she wrote in the post on her verified Instagram account. 'I appreciate the prayers.'

On Thursday, Jair Bolsonaro held his weekly live broadcast on Facebook. This time, he was not accompanied by a minister or a sign language interpreter, as usual. 

Despite saying he felt well, he said he should still be isolated next week, so as to avoid contaminating anyone.

'I'm sorry I can't interact with you here. Not even next week will it be possible, because I think I will not yet be completely free of the virus, so I will not have anyone on my side here,' Bolsonaro said on the broadcast.

During the broadcast, he wasn't wearing a mask. But the aide said Bolsonaro now regularly wears the equipment to protect both his family and the more than 100 employees who work at the residence. 

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