Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will be transferred to a hospital in Sao Paulo for additional tests to determine whether he needs emergency surgery, according to Brazil’s Special Secretariat for Social Communication.
According to sources at the presidential palace, Bolsonaro felt abdominal pain at night, and he was admitted to a hospital in Brasilia to investigate the cause of persistent hiccups, the secretariat said.
Dr. Antonio Luiz Macedo, the physician who was responsible for surgeries on Bolsonaro following a knife attack in 2018, found an intestinal obstruction and decided to take him to a hospital in São Paulo.
Bolsonaro will undergo additional tests to see whether there is a need for emergency surgery.
The President has been complaining for more than a week of hiccups, saying it was causing him difficulties when speaking in public.
On Tuesday night, he addressed the issue when talking to supporters. “Guys, I’m voiceless, guys. If I start talking too much, the hiccup bout comes back. The hiccup is back,” he said.
During a social media event last Thursday, the President said that he had had hiccups “for over a week” at that point. “I may not be able to express myself properly on this live,” he said.
He has suggested the condition may be related to medication he was taking due to surgery for dental implants.
According to sources earlier Wednesday, Bolsonaro was doing well. The possibility of performing surgery in the coming months to remove a hernia in the abdominal region was also being evaluated.
In January 2019, Bolsonaro underwent surgery to remove a colostomy bag fitted after he was stabbed four months earlier on the presidential campaign trail.
Last July, he contracted Covid-19, following months of downplaying the gravity of the virus.
The right-wing populist has been heavily criticized for his handling of the pandemic, which has led to more than 500,000 deaths in Brazil, one of the world’s worst-hit countries.
The country has suffered from a slow vaccine rollout and staunch resistance to containment measures by Bolsonaro’s government.
The President is facing a parliamentary inquiry led by Brazil’s Senate, which is investigating whether the federal government intentionally delayed the vaccine rollout in line with its herd immunity strategy.
CNN’s Rodrigo Pedroso reported from Sao Paulo and Larry Register reported from Atlanta.