Brazil’s President preferred to fire the health minister due to weeks of disagreements on COVID-19 situation. His dismissal comes as experts say the peak of the new coronavirus outbreak in Brazil is expected in the coming weeks.
Jair Bolsonaro’s dismissive stance toward the novel virus outbreak has angered many health experts, including Luiz Henrique Mandetta, the health minister who had garnered support for his handling of the pandemic that included promotion of broad isolation measures enacted by Brazilian governors.
Brazil’s president fired his popular health minister following a series of disagreements over the proper response to contain the pathogen’s spread in South American country. Actually, Brazil is the most populous nation in the continent, so, the safety measures are a must.
“You should have absolute certainty that we fought a good fight until here,” Mr Mandetta told health ministry workers in a televised press conference on Thursday after announcing his departure. “But we’re at the start of the battle.”
Brazil’s Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly characterised the virus as a “little flu,” said shutting down the economy would cause more damage than confining only high-risk Brazilians, and touted the yet-unproven efficacy of an anti-malarial drug.
“Life is priceless, but the economy and employment need to return to normality,” Mr Bolsonaro said at a press conference on Thursday. He also said he would neither condemn nor criticise Mr Mandetta. “It was a consensual divorce because more important than me and more important than him as a minister is the health of the Brazilian people.”
Jair Bolsonaro on Mandetta’s firing: it was a mutual decision
The Brazilian leader played down Mandetta’s departure, reportedly saying it was a mutual decision. As of Thursday Brazil had more than 30,000 people infected and just shy of 2,000 dead.
Mandetta’s dismissal ends weeks of bitterness between the two over the national response to the outbreak, which world experts believe is weeks away from peaking.
Mr Mandetta thanked his former colleagues they had put forth a good effort up until this point, while Jair Bolsanaro attempted to remind citizens he is sensitive to the crisis. The Brazilian president reiterated life is priceless, but he went on to repeat his mantra that the economy and employment need to get back to some form of normalcy.