Bolsonaro says he tested negative for Covid-19, two weeks after diagnosis

The Brazilian president did not say when he took the latest test

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the Alvorada Palace on a motorcycle, amid the Covid-19 outbreak, in Brasilia Brazil July 25, 2020. REUTERS
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the Alvorada Palace on a motorcycle, amid the Covid-19 outbreak, in Brasilia Brazil July 25, 2020. REUTERS

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Saturday that he tested negative for the new coronavirus more than two weeks after being diagnosed on July 7, attributing his recovery to an unproven malaria drug.

"RT-PCR for Sars-Cov 2: negative. Good morning everyone," the 65-year-old tweeted, along with a photo of himself smiling and holding a packet of hydroxychloroquine, whose effectiveness against Covid-19 has not been demonstrated in clinical trials.

He did not say when he took the latest test.

The president, who has routinely downplayed the virus he calls a "little flu" but which is ravaging his country, spent nearly 20 days in isolation at his official residence in the capital Brasilia, the Alvorada Palace.

During that time, he underwent at least three more virus tests, all positive.

Three polls released this week showed the leader dubbed Tropical Trump would win re-election in 2022, despite his controversial handling of the virus crisis.

The pandemic has exploded in Brazil, the country with the most infections and deaths from Covid-19 anywhere in the world except the United States.

The Latin American nation has registered nearly 2.3 million cases of the new coronavirus and more than 84,000 deaths, and the numbers have continued to rise rapidly.

Mr Bolsonaro is a fierce critic of stay-at-home measures, arguing the economic pain they result in is worse than the virus itself.

The president has appeared to continue flouting virus precautions even after his diagnosis.

On Thursday, he was seen out his motorcycle and chatting without a mask to a team of groundskeepers outside the presidential palace.

The same day he admitted in a live Facebook video that he was feeling "a bit wretched at being imprisoned here".

Mr Bolsonaro also continued greeting supporters from quarantine, separated by a narrow reflecting pond but without a mask.

And he was spotted in the palace gardens feeding – and occasionally being pecked by – rheas, a South American bird related to the emu.

Updated: July 25, 2020 09:02 PM

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