Bolsonaro Found Virus-Free After Aide’s Result, Trump Dinner

(Bloomberg) -- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested negative for coronavirus, giving his inner circle and allies some relief after a close aide was diagnosed with the illness.

He announced the results of his test on social media, along with a picture of himself making a rude gesture used by many to tell off their critics.

The Brazilian leader had been under medical observation since his Communications Secretary Fabio Wajngarten tested positive for the virus on Thursday. Both officials were part of a delegation that met with U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence last weekend in Mar-a-Lago.

Other members of Trump’s delegation tested negative for Covid-19, including Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo and Institutional Security Minister Augusto Heleno. First Lady Michele Bolsonaro is also virus free. Results for Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Araujo will be known on Saturday.

Coronavirus has spread rapidly throughout Latin America since the region’s first case was confirmed in Brazil on Feb. 26. Argentina has temporarily banned all international flights from virus hotspots around the world, while Peru has delayed the start of its school year and Colombia ordered travelers from China, Italy, Spain and France to self-quarantine.

Bolsonaro had minimized the coronavirus outbreak as recently as Tuesday while speaking at an event in front of roughly 300 American and Brazilian entrepreneurs in Miami. “We have a small crisis at the moment,” he said at the time. “Coronavirus is a fantasy, it isn’t all that the media says it is.”

Read more: Face-Masked Bolsonaro Suggests Calling Off Protests Due to Virus

Since then, in light of the growing virus risk, Brazil’s Congress suspended some visits to its building. Government officials in Brazil’s capital city, Brasilia, temporarily closed all schools and suspended all major events, including concerts and soccer games.

In a live broadcast on social media late Thursday, Bolsonaro cited coronavirus risks and suggested calling off or delaying this Sunday’s anti-Congress protests that he had previously backed. Wearing a face mask, he said the priority is avoiding an explosion in confirmed cases.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.