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El Salvador president takes hydroxychloroquine to fight COVID-19, cites Trump’s use

WHO halts hydroxychloroquine clinical trials
Canada is one of dozens of countries taking part in the World Health Organization's trials of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, to determine if it's a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19. But as Heather Yourex-West explains, those trials have now been suspended.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said on Tuesday he takes hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that U.S. President Donald Trump has promoted as a way to ward off the novel coronavirus, though experts have warned about its safety.

Bukele told reporters that El Salvador was not promoting it anymore as a treatment, following the recommendation of the World Health Organization, though patients would still be able to take it as a preventative measure if they wished.

READ MORE: WHO pauses hydroxychloroquine coronavirus trial over safety concerns

“I use it as a prophylaxis, President Trump uses it as a prophylaxis, most of the world’s leaders use it as a prophylaxis,” Bukele said.

Coronavirus outbreak: Study finds hydroxychloroquine may be tied to higher fatality risk for COVID-19 patients
Coronavirus outbreak: Study finds hydroxychloroquine may be tied to higher fatality risk for COVID-19 patients

Bukele’s forceful response to the coronavirus, including moving to extend a national state of emergency without congressional approval, has prompted criticism that the 38-year-old has shown authoritarian tendencies and exceeded his powers.

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Speaking at an event with Bukele, the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Ronald Johnson, suggested that he approved of the leader’s handling of the pandemic.

READ MORE: ‘It doesn’t harm you’: Trump defends his hydroxychloroquine use as COVID-19 measure

“I believe that in crisis situations, oftentimes people must give up a little bit of their freedoms in order to favor the rights and freedoms of the majority and of the whole,” he said.

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“This is only a temporary moment.”

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria; writing by Julia Love Editing by Robert Birsel)

Trump defends use of hydroxychloroquine
Trump defends use of hydroxychloroquine