“Everyone knew that it would reach a considerable part of the population sooner or later. It was positive for me,” Bolsonaro said, referring to the Covid-19 test he took Monday.
Earlier on Tuesday Bolsonaro’s press office told CNN affiliate CNN Brasil that the President was being treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as he awaited the result of his fourth Covid-19 test in four months.
“I’ve done a lung screening, my lung is clean, OK? I went to do a Covid exam a while ago, but everything is okay.”
The President, who was wearing a mask, warned people to not get near him. “You can’t get very close [to me], OK? Recommendation for everyone,” Bolsonaro said.
CNN Brasil reported Monday that the President said he was showing symptoms consistent with Covid-19, including a 38 degree Celsius fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Bolsonaro’s office told CNN Brasil Tuesday that his temperature was normal.
Bolsonaro has derided coronavirus as just a “little flu,” and previously appeared in public and at rallies without a mask, even hugging supporters.
He has encouraged the country to reopen, even as the number of cases rises, and has criticized local governments’ efforts to stamp out the virus through social distancing measures, such as quarantine and shelter-in-place orders.
Brazil is second only to the United States in numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths. More than 65,000 people have died of the virus in Brazil, according to figures released by the country’s health ministry on Monday, and 1,623,284 cases have been confirmed so far.
The Brazilian leader had previously tested negative for coronavirus in three separate examinations. Those tests were administered between March 12 and March 17, after Bolsonaro returned from a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump in Florida and many in his entourage tested positive.
“Our life has to go on. Jobs should be maintained,” Bolsonaro said in the still-early days of the pandemic, during a March 24 speech broadcast on national television and radio. He has maintained that position, arguing that the economic fallout of lockdown could be worse than the virus itself.
He has also continued to occasionally greet supporters without protective equipment — even after a court ordered him to wear a mask or face a fine. The order has since been overturned.
July 4 event at US Ambassador’s residence
Bolsonaro’s positive result comes just days after he attended a July 4th commemoration event with the US Ambassador to Brazil, Todd Chapman.
Images from the gathering show Bolsonaro not wearing a mask or observing social distancing. In one picture, he stands next to several US and Brazilian officials, including Chapman, none of whom was wearing a face covering.
Chapman was stood directly next to Bolsonaro in the photo, with his arm around the president. Brazil’s foreign minister, Ernesto Araújo, was pictured the other side of Bolsonaro.
Chapman also shared an image of himself next to Bolsonaro on his official Twitter account, writing that he was “honored” to receive the Brazilian president on July 4th.
CNN has called the US Embassy in Brasília and contacted the US State Department for comment on whether the ambassador or other officials have been tested for Covid-19.