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Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro tests negative for coronavirus

Bolsonaro’s communications chief tested positive for Covid-19 after last weekend’s trip to the US during which both men met with Donald Trump.

Bolsonaro during his Facebook Live address yesterday.
Bolsonaro during his Facebook Live address yesterday.
Image: JairBolsanaro/Facebook

BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT JAIR Bolsonaro said he has tested negative for the new coronavirus, after one of his staff members tested positive. 

“The Armed Forces Hospital and (diagnostic laboratory) Sabin have returned a negative test result for COVID-19 for the President of the Republic Jair Bolsonaro,” said a post on the far-right leader’s Facebook page.

The 64-year-old announced yesterday, while wearing a facemask via Facebook live, that he was being tested for the virus after his aide tested positive for the virus following a trip on which both met with US President Donald Trump.

“I’m using a mask because when we returned from our recent trip to the United States, one of the people who travelled with us had tests in Sao Paulo and it came up positive,” said Bolsonaro.

The far-right leader’s communications chief, Fabio Wajngarten, tested positive for Covid-19 after last weekend’s trip to the US during which both men met with Trump at his Florida resort.

Wajngarten was photographed standing side-by-side with Trump.

He cancelled a scheduled trip on Thursday to the city of Mossoro, in northeastern Brazil, and his office said he had no other official events on his daily agenda.

Bolsonaro had previously sought to downplay the coronavirus pandemic, saying its severity had been “overstated.”

Earlier on Thursday, his son Eduardo revealed on Twitter that Bolsonaro had been tested for the new coronavirus but was not “exhibiting any symptoms of the disease.”

Trump has said he was “not concerned” about contracting the virus and the White House said he did not need testing.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “had almost no interactions with” Wajngarten, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

They “do not require being tested at this time,” she said, explaining that US government guidelines do not recommend testing for people without symptoms.

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virus-outbreak-brazil President Donald Trump shakes hands before a dinner with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach on 7 March. Source: Alex Brandon/PA

Eduardo Bolsonaro, who also accompanied his father to the United States, said he was undergoing testing as well.

The president said another member of the Brazilian delegation had been tested with the results coming back as negative, but didn’t reveal who that was.

The Brazilian delegation also included Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, who cut short a subsequent trip to Washington on Thursday to return to Brazil. He would follow all current protocols on the virus, his office said.

Brazil has 77 confirmed cases of new coronavirus and another 1,400 suspected cases, according to health ministry figures.

- Additional reporting by AFP

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