Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Portugal has tested positive for Coronavirus as confirmed in a statement shared on the official website of the Portuguese Presidency on Monday night, 11 January.
The 72-year-old who took office in 2016 and is seeking a second term in the country’s presidential election on January 24, is reportedly asymptomatic.
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
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 has in recent days reported record increases in the number of COVID-19 infections and the death toll, and is now expected to go on a new nationwide lockdown.
Health experts and politicians have blamed the surge in cases on the decision to ease restrictions during the festive period. In March last year, the lockdown forced all non-essential businesses to close and most people to stay at home for six weeks. Prime Minister António Costa has said schools would remain open this time.