Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced this Monday to the cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga as his new Minister of Health, the fourth since the first case of covid was registered in Brazil, a country that has become the current global epicenter of the pandemic. The far-right leader announced the replacement of the current minister, Army General Eduardo Pazuello, in a conversation with followers in front of the Alvorada Palace, the residence of the Presidency, and announced that the appointment will be published in Tuesday’s edition of the Official Gazette. .
The change of minister takes place at a time when Brazil is close to 280,000 deaths from coronavirus and exceeds 11.5 million cases of the disease, which make it the second country in the world both in number of victims and cases, only surpassed by the United States. It also occurs a few hours after the also cardiologist Ludhmila Hajjar revealed that declined the invitation Bolsonaro made him take over as head of Health for differing from the head of state’s ideas about the best way to deal with the pandemic.
As well as the two predecessors of Pazuello, the deputy Luiz Henrique Mandetta and the oncologist Nelson Teich, who left the Ministry due to differences with Bolsonaro, Hajjar said that, unlike the head of state, considers that confinements are necessary to reduce infections and that the use of remedies cannot be encouraged without scientific verification to treat covid.
After Hajjar’s refusal, Bolsonaro met with Queiroga on Monday afternoon and announced his appointment shortly after in an informal conversation with his followers and without the Government having confirmed it. “His appointment to the Ministry was decided this afternoon. He is president of the Brazilian Society of Cardiology. The conversation was excellent, I had known him for some years, so he is not someone I just met. In my opinion, he has everything to do. a good job, continuing what Pazuello has done to this day, “he said.
He added that, due to his training as a doctor, Queiroga has much more knowledge in the area than Pazuello, a military logistics specialist who had no experience in health before assuming as minister. Pazuello had acknowledged shortly before, at a press conference, that the president was looking for someone to replace him but did not explain the reasons. After thanking the military’s work, Bolsonaro said that it is time to leave “for a more aggressive part in relation to the fight against the virus.”
When Pazuello took office in May of last year, after the resignation of his two predecessors in just over a month, Brazil registered some 14,800 deaths and 218,000 infections. His management is also under judicial investigation due to suspicions of “omission” and “lack of transparency” in the treatment of a pandemic whose severity has been denied by Bolsonaro.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the leader of the Brazilian far-right denier has minimized the severity of the disease, defended the use of drugs against covid without scientific verification, questioned the efficacy and safety of vaccines and criticized restrictive measures. confinements and the use of masks.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.