Update: Earlier news broke and appeared to confirm that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had tested positive for coronavirus. Bolsonaro has himself contested that information. The headline and copy have been updated.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had tested positive for the coronavirus, Rio-based Brazilian newspaper Journal O Dia reported Friday, before the president denied the reports.
“Information from direct sources in the (presidential office) shows that the first test that the president took was positive,” the report reads.
Bolsonaro was tested for the virus after his press secretary Fabio Wajngarten tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday. Wajngarten had interacted with President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend when President Bolsonaro was visiting the U.S. with a delegation.
Fox News confirmed Bolsonaro had tested positive. Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, later appeared on Fox and denied that his father had tested positive.
Due to the source being anonymous, some commentators have expressed doubt as international news sources seek confirmation that the report is true.
Still some caution warranted on this Bolsonaro/COVID-19 story: 1) the reporting of the positive test comes from anonymous sources and a columnist (albeit in a well-known newspaper); 2) it’s the first test, not the more reliable 2nd one; 3) still no official announcement.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 13, 2020
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) March 13, 2020
Multiple U.S. lawmakers were exposed to Bolsonaro during his visit, including Senators Rick Scott and Lindsey Graham, who subsequently self-quarantined to avoid spreading the virus. (RELATED: Sen. Lindsey Graham To Self-Quarantine As President Of Brazil Awaits Results For Coronavirus)