BRASILIA: A close aide to Brazil’s president who attended a dinner with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend tested positive for coronavirus.
Fabio Wajngarten, President Jair Bolsonaro’s communications secretary, had his diagnosis confirmed by a second test on Thursday, according to a statement from the presidential palace.
He was part of the presidential entourage during a trip to Florida earlier this week. Pictures posted on social media show him side-by-side with Trump, wearing a “Make Brazil Great Again” hat.
Bolsonaro cancelled his official agenda on Thursday and remains at the official residence, under medical observation.
“The presidential medical service is adopting all preventative measures to protect the health of the president and all those who accompanied him during a recent trip to the US,” the statement read.
Asked about the news, the US president said he was “not concerned”.
“We did nothing very unusual; we sat next to each other for a period of time, had a great conversation,” Trump told reporters at the White House, referring to the Brazilian president.
“He’s doing a terrific job in Brazil and we’ll find out what happens. I guess they’re being tested right now.”
The White House later said it is assessing exposures from the case, which “will dictate next steps”.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time”, said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.
Three other high-ranking Brazilian authorities accompanied Bolsonaro during his dinner with Trump: Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo; Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Araujo, and Institutional Security Minister Augusto Heleno.
Before returning home, Bolsonaro minimised the coronavirus crisis in a speech to the Brazilian community in Miami.
“We have a small crisis at the moment,” he said on Tuesday.
“Coronavirus isn’t all that the media is talking about.”