Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS
Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS

Washington  — US President Donald Trump on Thursday said he was not concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus after dining last week with a Brazilian government official who has since tested positive for the disease.

The day after announcing curbs on travel to the US  by European Union residents, Trump brushed off concerns about his possible exposure to the virus, which has sickened more than 126,000 people in a worldwide pandemic.

“Let's put it this way: I'm not concerned,” Trump told reporters while meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office.

The coronavirus pandemic and fallout is shaping up to be perhaps the greatest crisis of Trump's presidency. The front-runner seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump's bid for re-election later in 2020, former vice-president Joe Biden, is due to speak on the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday afternoon.

Brazilian officials on Thursday confirmed that Brazil's communications secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, has the coronavirus and is now under quarantine at his home. Wajngarten had been on an official visit to the US with President Jair Bolsonaro, and posted a picture  on Instagram of the meeting at Trump's Florida resort at the weekend, showing him standing next to Trump while wearing a “Make Brazil Great Again” cap. Vice-President Mike Pence was next to Trump.

Bolsonaro's medical team is taking all preventive measures to protect the health of the Brazilian president, a statement from Bolsonaro's office said. It did not clarify if Bolsonaro, or others on the trip, were being tested.

Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S  Paulo reported that Bolsonaro was tested on Thursday, with results due Friday. It added that other cabinet ministers on the trip will also be tested.

“The Brazilian government has also informed the US government authorities of the news so that they can also take the necessary precautionary measures,” the statement said.

US senator Rick Scott of Florida on Thursday said he would quarantine himself after meeting with a member of Bolsonaro's staff during the visit.

“While I do not believe I interacted with the infected person, that individual was in the same room as me,” Scott said in a statement. “The health and safety of the American people is my focus and I have made the decision to self-quarantine.”

Bolsonaro's son, Eduardo, a federal congressman who also attended the meeting at Mar-a-Lago, said on Twitter that he was on his way to get tested. Four days ago, he posted a picture  of himself standing behind the US president, next to Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and close to his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Brazil's foreign minister, defence minister and Brazil's chief national security adviser were also in the image, along with the Brazilian president.

Reuters