Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested negative for COVID-19

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday (Mar 13) he has tested negative for the new coronavirus, after a scare over a trip on which at least one infected member of his staff rubbed shoulders with Donald Trump.

“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.

Bolsonaro’s communications secretary Fabio Wajngarten tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday following a trip to Florida where both met with US President Donald Trump. 

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

Trump later said he was not concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus. 

“Let’s put it this way: I’m not concerned,” Trump told reporters.

READ: Brazil communications secretary who met Trump tests positive for COVID-19

READ: Canadian PM Trudeau’s wife tests positive for COVID-19

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “had almost no interactions with the individual”, Trump spokeswoman 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.

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

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

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