Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro Fires Health Minister Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Bolsonaro and Luiz Mandetta Disagreed over Measures to Contain the Spread of Coronavirus

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Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has fired his health minister after a series of disagreements over the proper response to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Luiz Henrique Mandetta had garnered support for his handling of the pandemic. Bolsonaro’s dismissive stance toward the COVID-19 pandemic has angered health experts. “Life is priceless, but the economy and employment need to return to normality,” President Bolsonaro said recently in a statement.

Bolsonaro and Mandetta have disagreed publicly for weeks over the need for widespread social isolation. Bolsonaro downplayed the threat of the coronavirus as a “little flu,” arguing Brazil’s economy must continue to run normally and defending the use of unproven drugs such as hydroxychloroquine.

Bolsonaro said he had appointed oncologist Nelson Teich as the country’s new health minister.