Cable news channel GloboNews reports that Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta has been called to a meeting with President Jair Bolsonaro, amid speculation that the cabinet minister will be fired. Tensions between the two have been high for weeks, as they have drastically different opinions on the adequate approach for the country toward the Covid-19 pandemic. The relationship became unbearable after Sunday, when Mr. Mandetta gave an interview to TV network Globo — often called “the enemy” by Mr. Bolsonaro — during which he refuted the vast majority of the president’s statements about the virus.
A Brasília source close to Luiz Henrique Mandetta has confirmed to The Brazilian Report‘s Brasília correspondent Brenno Grillo that a decision has been made and oncologist Nelson Teich will become the new Health Minister.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Teich also defends social isolation — which Mr. Bolsonaro has spoken out against, saying that the human toll of a tanking economy will be far greater than the coronavirus itself.
“Due to a lack of detailed and complete information around the behavior and lethality of Covid-19 — and with the possibility of the healthcare system not being capable of absorbing the growing demand — the option for “horizontal” isolation [when the entire population not in essential work must follow social distancing rules] is the best strategy at the moment,” Mr. Teich recently wrote.
This post has been updated at 4:03 pm.