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LATIN AMERICA | 12-03-2020 13:21

Brazilian official who met Trump tests positive for Covid-19

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's communications chief, who met Donald Trump during an official weekend visit to the US leader's Florida resort, has tests positive for the new coronavirus.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's communications chief, who met Donald Trump during an official weekend visit to the US leader's Florida resort, has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the government said Thursday.

The Brazilian president's office "has taken and is taking all necessary preventive measures to protect the health of the president and all staff that travelled with him to the United States" last Saturday to Tuesday, it said in a statement, confirming the far-right government's chief spokesman, Fabio Wajngarten, had tested positive for Covid-19.

Wajngarten had posted a picture of himself meeting Trump on Instagram on Saturday, both with hats reading "Make Brazil Great Again." US Vice-President Mike Pence was also in the photograph.

Wajngarten's wife, Sophie, confirmed Thursday that her husband tested positive for Covid-19 in a message she sent to a WhatsApp group of school parents at the Red House International School, where the couple's three daughters are studying, the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported.

"Girls, good morning: according to an email yesterday [Wednesday] from school, my husband returned from a trip to Miami yesterday and took the Covid test, which was positive," wrote the woman in the group, according to quotes from Folha.

On Wednesday, the school e-mailed the students' families that "the father of three students returned from the United States with flu-like symptoms and, as a precaution, underwent the Covid-19 test."

In the note, obtained by the AFP, it is indicated that results were expected this Thursday.

Brazilian media also indicated that Bolsonaro underwent a coronavirus test. Officials have so far not responded to requests about the president's health, though local outlet Estadão said that Bolsonaro was being mointored.

Brazil has 60 confirmed coronavirus cases and 930 suspected cases.

Latin American measures

Latin American countries stepped up measures to slow the advance of the coronavirus Wednesday, announcing a slew of restrictions on travelers from the worst-affected countries and shutting down major sports events.

Argentina, Colombia and Peru said travellers from China, Italy, Spain and France would be isolated on arrival.

El Salvador went further, with President Nayib Bukele announcing late Wednesday the Central American country would ban entry to all foreigners for a period of 21 days.

Argentina was the first Latin American country to register a coronavirus-related death on Saturday, with Panama announcing another on Tuesday.

China, where the new coronavirus was first detected, has been the worst affected country with more than 80,000 cases and over 3,100 deaths, although the government says more than 60,000 people have recovered.

– TIMES/AFP

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