Despite earlier reports in local media, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested negative for the illness, according to a post Friday on his official Facebook profile.
Some media had reported that Bolsonaro received an initial positive test result for COVID-19, but his official social media account later said tests were negative — and posted a photo of the leader making an offensive arm gesture to reporters earlier this year.
“Don’t believe the fake news media!” Bolsonaro wrote in all caps in Portuguese on Twitter.
Bolsonaro and a large Brazilian contingent met with President Trump and other senior US officials last weekend at Mar-a-Lago.
His communications secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, who also was on the trip, tested positive Thursday and is in quarantine.
The Mar-a-Lago meeting also included Trump’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo, who is a federal lawmaker.
Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani also went to Mar-a-Lago that evening.
Bolsonaro tried to downplay the worldwide health threat during his US visit.
“During the past year, obviously, we have had moments of crisis. A lot of that is fantasy. And coronavirus, which is not [what] all the mainstream media makes it out to be,” he said.
But on Thursday, he wore a mask on a live transmission on Facebook and in a televised address later, he said the World Health Organization “responsibly” characterized the virus as a pandemic.
He also tried to dissuade supporters from turning out for mass demonstrations scheduled for March 15.
The White House said earlier in the week that Trump was in “excellent health” after shaking hands with a congressman exposed to the virus.
Author: Yaron Steinbuch