Brazilian Official Tests Positive for Coronavirus, Days After Meeting Trump at Mar-a-Lago

White House confirms Trump met with official
March 12, 2020 Updated: March 13, 2020

A Brazilian official who met with President Donald Trump at his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago tested positive for the new coronavirus, which causes a disease called COVID-19.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s communications secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, as well as Bolsonaro himself, met with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence last week. Photos on Wajngarten’s Instagram showed him standing next to Trump and Pence at Mar-a-Lago with the caption: “Make Brazil Great Again.”

In a statement, the Brazilian government confirmed Wajngarten’s positive COVID-19 test.

“The medical service of the presidency of the Republic adopted and is adopting all the necessary preventative measures to preserve the health of the president of the Republic and the entire presidential committee which accompanied him on the recent trip to the United States, as well as presidential palace staff,” the statement said, according to The Guardian.

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“Make Brazil Great Again” @realdonaldtrump @mikepence @alvarogarnero 🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

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The White House was told about the test “so that they can adopt the necessary cautionary measures,” Brazil’s government said.

Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the White House was made aware of reports that the official tested positive after visiting Mar-a-Lago last weekend.

“Exposures from the case are being assessed, which will dictate next steps. Both the President and Vice President had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time,” she said. “As stated before, the White House Medical Unit and the United States Secret Service has been working closely with various agencies to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the First & Second Families, and all White House staff healthy.”

According to Reuters, Bolsonaro was also tested for the virus. So far, the results have not come back, while Brazil’s leadership hasn’t confirmed the report.

“We did nothing very unusual, we sat next to each other for a period of time,” Trump told reporters on Thursday in response to questions about Bolsonaro.

Amid the coronavirus epidemic, Trump told reporters that he is “not concerned at all” about contracting the illness. He was asked about his speech at an influential conservative conference in late February, where an attendee was later confirmed to have tested positive, prompting several Republican members of Congress to self-isolate for 14 days.

On Wednesday night, Trump announced sweeping travel bans to dozens of European countries coming into the United States, namely mainland Europe, as the White House attempts to curb the spread of the virus.

donald trump
President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the new coronavirus in Washington on March 11, 2019. (Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, more than 1,300 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States. Reports say more than three-dozen people have died in the country.

Pence on Thursday told NBC’s “Today” show that there will be “thousands” of more COVID-19 cases in the country while the administration is “trying to hold that number down as much as possible.”

The coronavirus emerged late in 2019 in mainland China and has spread to more than 100 countries. Outside of mainland China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan have reported the most cases.