Lula, 77, was admitted to a hospital in the capital of Brasilia with flu-like symptoms and was diagnosed with “bacterial and viral bronchopneumonia due to influenza A,” the palace said in a statement, quoting a medical note signed by Dr. Ana Helena Germoglio.
The leftist leader’s health was reassessed on Saturday and, despite improvement, he was advised to “postpone the trip to China until the cycle of viral transmission ends,” the medical note said. His press office later confirmed that the trip had been canceled.
Chinese authorities have been informed, “with the reiteration of the desire to schedule the visit on a new date,” the palace said.
Lula had been expected to leave for China on a multi-day visit on Friday or Saturday, but the trip was pushed back on Friday.
A delegation composed of ministers, senators, lawmakers and hundreds of businessmen had been set to accompany Lula during his first state visit to Brazil’s biggest trade partner since taking office in January.
The Brazilian president and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping were scheduled to meet next Tuesday.
Trade, investment and climate change were on the agenda and 20 bilateral agreements had been expected to be signed, according to a statement Thursday from the presidential palace.
Lula, who rarely postpones or cancels trips due to health reasons, traveled to Argentina in January and the U.S. in February, marking a departure from Brazil’s foreign policy under former far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who showed little interest in international affairs or travel abroad.
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