Mexico president returns after 2nd COVID-19 infection
FILE - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris in her office at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Washington. President Lopez Obrador announced on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, that he has come down with COVID-19 a second time, as coronavirus infections spike in Mexico and virus tests become scarce. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador returned to his morning news conference Monday following a week of isolation for his second coronavirus infection.

The president used his relatively speedy recovery to remark on the lighter symptoms of the omicron variant, which has quickly become dominant in the region, though he had not said explicitly that was the variant he had.

“It is demonstrable that this variant does not have the same seriousness as the earlier, the delta,” López Obrador said. “In symptoms and also in recuperation time.”

López Obrador was infected the first time in January of last year. He does not wear a protective mask during his daily news conferences in front of staff and reporters. He had sounded hoarse at his news conference last Monday, dismissed it as a cold, but said he would be tested. Later in the day, he confirmed he was infected.

The 68-year-old president had received three doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

He credited Mexico's vaccination program with keeping hospitalisations low even while new infections surged.

Mexico has recorded more than 300,000 test-confirmed COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic, but with an extremely low rate of testing the government estimates that the real death toll is near 460,000.

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