Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, Brazil’s Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta has gone from unknown cabinet member to one of the most popular figures of the federal administration. By the end of the day, however, Mr. Mandetta could be shown the door.
The information was first broken by political scientist Alberto Carlos Almeida. Sources heard by The Brazilian Report, however, say the decision has not yet been confirmed, but add that the president already has two potential replacements for the Health Minister job: Congressman Osmar Terra—who formerly served as Citizenship Minister—and Admiral Antônio Barra Torres, the head of Brazil’s sanitary surveillance agency Anvisa. Both are doctors.
Admiral Barra Torres came in for severe criticism when he accompanied the president in an anti-democratic street parade against Congress, during which Mr. Bolsonaro had direct contact with approximately 300 people—despite still awaiting his coronavirus test results.
On Twitter, Congressman Fabio Trad (Health Minister Mandetta’s cousin) said: “Stick with the science. If that costs you your job, so be it.”
One member of the Health Ministry has already lost his position. Julio Croda, director of the Immunization and Transmissible Diseases Department, has officially gone on vacation. The odd timing of this break—while the country faces a pandemic it is still trying to get to grips with—is striking, and government officials say he won’t return to his post due to disagreements with his superior, Health Surveillance Secretary Wanderson Oliveira.
—This post was last updated at 11:08 am.