Head of sanitary regulatory agency diagnosed with Covid-19

sanitary Admiral Antônio Barra Torres
Former Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta (left) and Admiral Antônio Barra Torres. Photo: Alan Dias/PR

Admiral Antônio Barra Torres, the chairman of Brazil’s Sanitary Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) confirmed he has been diagnosed with Covid-19, during a video-conference with the House of Representatives’ external coronavirus committee this afternoon. 

Appointed to the Anvisa board by Jair Bolsonaro last year, Mr. Barra Torres is seen as the president’s eyes and ears in one of Brazil’s most important regulatory agencies. His proximity to the government even raised the possibility of him being appointed Health Minister after the exit of Luiz Henrique Mandetta last month, and now again after the resignation of Nelson Teich.

Mr. Barra Torres is frequently seen alongside President Bolsonaro, whether it be in official meetings or during several pro-government protests in Brasilia. In one infamous demonstration, in which Mr. Bolsonaro was suspected to have contracted the coronavirus and shook the hands of hundreds of his supporters, Mr. Barra Torres accompanied the president throughout the entire protest.

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