President Donald Trump said he took a coronavirus test on Friday, after a press conference in which he was asked about his interactions with a Brazilian official who later got infected with the virus.
He said he was waiting for the results. “A day, two days. They send it to a lab,” he said.
Trump’s comments to reporters on Saturday at noon seem to contradict a statement sent by the White House at midnight, stating that the president would not be tested.
At least four Brazilian officials who attended a dinner in Mar-a-Lago on Saturday have tested positive. They were members of the delegation accompanying the president of Brazil on an official trip to Florida.
Fabio Wajngarten, President Jair Bolsonaro’s press secretary, posted on Instagram a picture of himself next to Trump. After returning from the U.S., the press secretary was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
President Trump said in a press conference on Friday that he had “no idea” who Wajngarten was. But after being pressed by reporters, he said he “most likely” would be tested.
But President Trump’s physician Sean P. Conley said in a memorandum that it was not necessary.
Conley acknowledged that President Trump took a photo with the Brazilian official but said that the interaction with him, which included a handshake, was “extremely limited” and before the press aide started showing symptoms. The memo said Trump also “spent more time in closer proximity” with another dinner guest who later tested positive.
“These interactions would be categorized as low risk for transmission per CDC guidelines and, as such, there is no indication for home quarantine at this time,” the physician concluded. He also said that “testing for COVID-19 is not currently indicated.”
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who shook hands with Bolsonaro in an event on Monday, also attended by Wajngarten, said he has tested positive. Senators Lindsey Graham and Rick Scott, who also interacted with the Brazilian officials, are in self-quarantine.
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Wajngarten is not the only member of the Brazilian delegation that traveled to Florida that have contracted the novel coronavirus.
Bolsonaro´s lawyer Karina Kufa, senator Nelsinho Trad and a diplomat at the Brazilian embassy in Washington DC, Nestor Foster, have all tested positive. Foster has been identified as the second person referred to in Conley´s memo.
And Bolsonaro, who was seated next to Trump at the dinner in Mar-a-Lago, has been advised to self-quarantine for at least a week and take a second coronavirus test, Brazilian newspaper Estado de S. Paulo reported late Friday, citing sources in the president´s team.
After some earlier reports on Friday suggesting that he had tested positive, Bolsonaro said in his social media accounts that his results were negative.
“We did have dinner with him,” Trump told reporters Friday. “We were seated next to each other for a long period of time. It was reported that he might have it, and he doesn’t, fortunately.”
Follow Nora Gámez Torres on Twitter: @ngameztorres
This story was originally published March 14, 2020 8:23 AM.