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Brazil's Bolsonaro awaits coronavirus test result

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro cleared his public agenda for Tuesday morning as he awaited the result of a coronavirus test, with his office saying the far-right leader who has dismissed the virus as a “little flu” was in good health.

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks with journalists while wearing a protective face mask as he arrives at Alvorada Palace, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brasilia, Brazil, May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

Bolsonaro took the test on Monday evening, according to a statement from the presidency, which added the result would come back Tuesday. Local media had reported that he had symptoms of the coronavirus, such as a fever.

“I came from the hospital,” Bolsonaro told supporters after stepping out of his car on Monday evening in comments broadcast by a pro-government YouTube channel. “But all is good,” he added.

Bolsonaro said he had undergone a lung scan, which had showed them to be “clean.”

The president’s public agenda for Tuesday showed an empty morning schedule, with no meetings until 3 p.m. Local media reported his diary had been cleared as he awaited the result.

The populist leader has repeatedly defied local guidelines to wear a mask in public, even after a judge ordered him to do so in late June. Bolsonaro has also railed against social distancing rules supported by the World Health Organization.

Brazil has the world’s second-largest outbreak behind the United States. More than 65,000 people have been killed by COVID-19 in Latin America’s largest country.

Over the weekend, Bolsonaro attended several events and was in close contact with the U.S. ambassador to Brazil during July 4 celebrations. Pictures of the event showed neither wearing a mask.

The U.S. embassy in Brasilia said via Twitter that Todd Chapman, the ambassador, had lunch on July 4 with Bolsonaro, five ministers and Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo, who is a federal congressman. The ambassador had no symptoms, but would undergo testing and is “taking precautions,” the embassy said.

Bolsonaro tested negative in March for the coronavirus after several aides were diagnosed following a visit to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida, estate.

Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer