Brazil's President Bolsonaro says he tested negative for coronavirus

The right-wing leader who previously downplayed the disease posted on social media on Saturday that he had tested “negative” for the coronavirus.
Image: BRAZIL-HEALTH-VIRUS-BOLSONARO
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks to supporters in the garden of the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia on Friday.Evaristo Sa / AFP - Getty Images

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By Phil McCausland

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said Saturday that he tested negative for COVID-19 after at least three other results since July 7 indicated he had been infected by the virus.

The right-wing leader who previously downplayed the disease posted on social media on Saturday that he had tested “negative” along with a greeting of “BOM DIA A TODOS” or “GOOD MORNING EVERYONE” in Portuguese. The posts were accompanied by a photo of Bolsonaro holding a packet of hydroxychloroquine that he credited for his quick recovery.

The Food and Drug Administration cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, though it was previously touted by President Donald Trump as a potential silver bullet for the coronavirus.

While Trump doesn't mention the drug as frequently, Bolsonaro, a self-described populist, has maintained his support for the drug.

"We know today there are other remedies that can help fight the coronavirus. We know none of them have their efficacy scientifically proven, but I'm one more person for whom this is working. So, I trust hydroxychloroquine," he said previously.

The 65-year-old president has gone further, dismissing the disease that has killed hundreds of thousands as nothing more than a "little flu."

Those who have disagreed with Bolsonaro in Brazil, meanwhile, have been dismissed or earned his ire. He has removed two health ministers since April and criticized governors and mayors whose lockdown measures he deemed too strict.

Brazil is second only to the United States in the number of cases and deaths caused by the coronavirus. The country's government reported Friday that it had more than 2.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 85,000 deaths because of the virus.