Pazuello could dodge in-person Covid hearings

pazuello hearings
Senators enter the Covid hearings committee room in Brasília. Pazuello doesn’t want to go. Photo: Marcelo Camargo/ABr

Former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello has managed to avoid appearing before the Senate’s Covid hearings committee tomorrow. He claims to recently have had contact with two people who tested positive for the coronavirus — and as such will not attend the Congress meeting to give his deposition.

Last week, Mr. Pazuello was spotted walking maskless in a shopping mall in Manaus, the Amazon’s biggest city — which suffered a severe coronavirus collapse earlier this year.

Committee chairman, Senator Omar Aziz, suggested his deposition be postponed for 14 days and talked against hold the deposition remotely. Mr. Pazuello standing before the Senate is arguably the most anticipated moment of the parliamentary inquiry so far, as was the longest-tenured Health Minister during the pandemic and became one of the faces of the crisis.

At 1 pm on Tuesday, Mr. Aziz said he had received “no official communication” from Mr. Pazuello. “As things stand, it will still go ahead.” 

Mr. Aziz added: “There will be no subterfuge under my watch.”

As we have explained before, the Bolsonaro administration is worried about the potential damage Mr. Pazuello’s testimony could cause — as one government source said, his previous dealings with the press and Congress have been “disastrous.” In order to minimize the risks, the government has coached Mr. Pazuello on how to respond to questioning.