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Brazilian president says he has tested negative for coronavirus

The announcement came after Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for a third time.


Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (AP)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (AP)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (AP)

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro said he has tested negative for the coronavirus, based on a fourth test since his announcement on July 7 that he had the illness.

The 65-year-old leader did not say when he took the new test. On Wednesday, he had tested positive for the third time.

Mr Bolsonaro also posted a photo of himself with a box of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, although this has not been proven to be an effective treatment for the virus.

Now that Mr Bolsonaro is clear of the virus, he is expected to return to mingling with crowds as he used to do before his diagnosis.

He had spent many weekends since the beginning of the pandemic in close proximity to supporters, sometimes without wearing a mask.

On Thursday, he was photographed without a mask while talking to some sweepers in the garden of the presidential residence.

Brazil, Latin America’s largest nation, is one of the outbreak’s epicentres.

According to the Brazilian government on Friday, there were 85,238 confirmed deaths due to the new coronavirus.

The country has 2,343,366 confirmed cases. The real numbers are believed to be higher.

On Monday, two more ministers in Mr Bolsonaro’s cabinet said they had tested positive: the 65-year-old minister of citizenship, Onyx Lorenzoni, and Milton Ribeiro, the 62-year-old minister of education.

Mr Bolsonaro’s administration last week completed two months without a health minister.

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The interim minister, General Eduardo Pazuello, who had no experience in the field before April, is facing pressure to leave the job.

He took over after his predecessor, a doctor and health care consultant, quit in protest over Mr Bolsonaro’s support for the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a related drug, as a treatment for Covid-19.

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