Americas

Brazil's Bolsonaro in COVID isolation after trip to U.N.

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Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro puts back on a protective face mask worn due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic after speaking during the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 21, 2021. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Pool

BRASILIA, Sept 22 (Reuters) - President Jair Bolsonaro, just back from the United Nations, isolated himself at home on Wednesday and canceled a trip after his health minister tested positive for COVID-19 and had to stay in quarantine in New York.

Brazil's health regulator Anvisa recommended that the entire presidential delegation to the U.N. General Assembly remain in isolation and undergo more tests. Bolsonaro's only appointment on Wednesday was changed to a remote meeting.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tested positive hours after accompanying Bolsonaro to give the first speech from a head of state at the annual assembly on Tuesday, the government said. It added that the other delegation members all tested negative.

Bolsonaro, a vaccine skeptic who has bragged about not being vaccinated, defied U.N. rules that asked all those attending the assembly be inoculated against the coronavirus.

Queiroga accompanied Bolsonaro to a meeting on Tuesday morning at the U.N. building with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The health minister was seen wearing a mask, although the two leaders went without.

Brazil's government has told the U.N. that its complete delegation has decided to self-quarantine for fourteen days, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

"Here at the U.N., we have looked into the potential exposure to U.N. staff who had been present in the General Assembly Hall and contact tracing is being finalized," Dujarric said. He said Queiroga did not meet with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"At present, no close contacts amongst U.N. staff have been identified," he told reporters.

Bolsonaro was the only member of his entourage in New York that has not been vaccinated. Before traveling to the United States he said he believed his antibody count from a bout with COVID-19 protected him better than a vaccine.

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Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu in Brasilia and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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