Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has announced he has tested negative for the new coronavirus more than two weeks after being diagnosed on July 7, appearing to attribute his recovery to an unproven malaria drug.
“RT-PCR for Sars-Cov 2: negative. Good morning everyone,” the 65-year-old tweeted, along with a photo of himself smiling and holding a packet of hydroxychloroquine, whose effectiveness against COVID-19 has not been demonstrated in clinical trials.
He did not say when he took the latest test. On Wednesday, he had tested positive for the third time.
The president has routinely downplayed the virus, which he calls a “little flu” despite its current ravaging of the country. The Latin American country has registered nearly 2.3 million cases and more than 84,000 deaths, and the numbers have continued to rise rapidly.
Bolsonaro spent nearly 20 days self-isolating at his official residence in the capital Brasilia.
Before his diagnosis, Bolsonaro spent many weekends since the beginning of the pandemic in close proximity to supporters, sometimes without wearing a mask.
Bolsonaro is a fierce critic of stay-at-home measures, and has argued the economic pain they result in is worse than the virus itself.
The president appeared to continue flouting virus precautions even after his diagnosis.
On Thursday, he was seen going for a ride on his motorcycle and chatting without a mask to a team of groundskeepers outside the presidential palace.
The same day he admitted in a live Facebook video he was feeling “a bit wretched at being imprisoned here”.