World War Two veteran Ermando Piveta, aged 99, became the oldest Brazilian to recover from the coronavirus on Tuesday.
Wearing an army cap and saluting from his wheelchair, Piveta left the Armed Forces Hospital in Brasilia to an ovation from medical staff and a soldier’s trumpet homage.
“Winning this battle was for me bigger than winning the war,” he said of his fight against an invisible enemy. “In war you kill or live. Here you have to fight to live,” he added.
Piveta was a second lieutenant in the Brazilian Army forces during World War Two and served in Africa.
Daily figures published by the health ministry only record deaths in hospital and do not include fatalities in the community such as in care homes.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration is also facing calls from the opposition Labour Party to detail this week its plan for lifting lockdown measures, which have shut down large parts of the economy for the last three weeks and are due to be reviewed by Thursday.
“Talk of an exit strategy before we have reached the peak risks confusing the critical message that people need to stay at home in order to protect our NHS (National Health Service) and save lives,” said a government source late on Tuesday.