Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been admitted to hospital to undergo tests after suffering hiccups for 10 days, which has eventually led to abdominal pains, O Globo reports. He will undergo observation for 24 to 48 hours, aides said. The president, who contracted COVID last year after severely downplaying the virus, had been complaining that the persistent hiccups were making it hard for him to speak. “Guys, I’m voiceless,” he said while talking to supporters on Tuesday. “If I start talking too much, the hiccup bout comes back.” He suggested the cause might be related to medication he was on after getting surgery for dental implants. (A 2020 paper in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine studied a 62-year-old man whose persistent hiccups were the presenting symptom of COVID.)
There have been more than 500,000 reported COVID deaths in Brazil and the country has had a slow vaccine rollout. The country’s Senate is leading an inquiry against Bolsonaro on whether his administration intentionally delayed the rollout.