Bolsonaro aide who met Trump tests positive for coronavirus

Trump says he’s ‘not concerned’ after Fabio Wajngarten, who is seen in a photo with Trump, tests positive for COVID-19.

Fabio Wajngarten
Chief of the Secretariat of Social Communication Fabio Wajngarten, mutes the microphone for Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, during a Flag Day ceremony at the Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil [File: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters]

A Brazilian government official who attended an official meeting at Donald Trump‘s resort in Florida on Saturday and posted a photo of himself standing next to the United States president has tested positive for coronavirus, Brazilian officials said on Thursday.

In the photo posted on his Instagram account, Fabio Wajngarten, the communication secretary of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, is standing next to Trump wearing a “Make Brazil great again” cap. Vice President Mike Pence was next to Trump.

Asked by Reuters News Agency before reports emerged about Wajngarten’s diagnosis, Brazil’s health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, said Bolsonaro would be monitored if Wajngarten tested positively.

Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo, later tweeted that his father has been tested for the virus and is awaiting the result, but he is not showing any symptoms. 

‘Not concerned’

Trump, meanwhile, said he was not concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus after reports surfaced about the Bolsonaro aide.

“Let’s put it this way: I’m not concerned,” Trump told reporters while meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office.

He said he had heard about the aide’s exposure but that “we did nothing very unusual”.

Trump also said he and Varadkar opted not to shake hands when the Irish leader arrived at the White House for the traditional St Patrick’s Day meeting.

“It’s a very strange feeling,” Trump said of not shaking hands.

On Wednesday, the White House said that Trump had not been tested for the virus. The White House added on Thursday that Trump and Pence had “almost no interactions” with Wajngarten and sees no need for the US leaders to be tested at this time. 

Earilier this week, US Representative Matt Gaetz, who was on board Air Force One with the president said he was self-quarantining because he had been in contact with a person who had tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Trump has been accused of initially downplaying the threat of the coronavirus. On Wednesday, he announced that he was banning travel to the US from most of Europe beginning on Friday. 

There have been more than 126,000 cases of the virus worldwide since its outbreak late last year in China, and over 68,000 people have recovered.

China is the epicentre of the crisis, with most infections and deaths, followed by Italy, Iran and South Korea.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies