Brazil's President Bolsonaro says he's recovered from coronavirus

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AP
The Brazilian President greeted supporters shortly after announcing he was COVID-19 free.
The Brazilian President greeted supporters shortly after announcing he was COVID-19 free.   -  Copyright  Eraldo Peres/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Saturday that he has tested negative for the novel coronavirus, after taking a fourth test since he announced on July 7 that he had the virus.

"Good morning everyone," Bolsonaro wrote on Facebook after reporting that the test was "negative."

He posted a photo of himself with a box of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which has not been proven to be effective against the virus.

Now that Bolsonaro is virus free, it is expected he will return to mingling with crowds as he had done previously.

Shortly after disclosing the negative result, Bolsonaro left the presidential residence on a motorcycle. Accompanied by security guards, he went to a motorcycle shop. On the way out, he took pictures with people nearby, removed his mask and put on his helmet.

Sergio LIMA / AFP
Bolsonaro rode out on his motorcycle after announcing he had tested negative for COVID-19.Sergio LIMA / AFP

Upon returning to the Alvorada Palace, his official residence, Bolsonaro greeted motorcyclists and gathered with them to take photos.

He spent many weekends since the outbreak of COVID-19 in close proximity of 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 the second-worst affected country by COVID-19, after the United States. 

According to the Brazilian government, on Friday there were over 85,000 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19. The country has over 2,343,000 confirmed cases, but the real numbers are believed to be higher.

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

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

The interim minister, Gen. 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 Bolsonaro's support for the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, as a treatment for COVID-19.