President Jair Bolsonaro has chosen his new Health Minister — the fourth to serve under his administration since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The new minister will be Marcelo Queiroga, the sitting chairman of the Brazilian Cardiology Society. One source present at the meeting between the physician and the president told The Brazilian Report the decision will be published on tomorrow’s federal register.
Prior to Dr. Queiroga, the president was turned down by another cardiologist, Ludhmilla Hajjar — with whom the president met on Sunday. Dr. Hajjar said her “philosophy doesn’t seem to be aligned with the government’s expectations.” She supports lockdowns in areas at risk of healthcare collapse and is critical of unproven treatments against Covid-19 — such as chloroquine, touted by Mr. Bolsonaro as a “possible cure” for Covid-19.
Marcelo Queiroga was part of Jair Bolsonaro’s transition team back in 2018 and is aligned with the president on issues such as abortion, which both oppose. However, the future minister does not recommend chloroquine, which studies say is risky for patients with heart conditions. According to government sources, he supports a quick and widespread vaccination rollout and, like Mr. Bolsonaro, he is not in favor of lockdowns.
The new Health Minister will take over amid the most brutal surge of coronavirus infections. Since February 24, Brazil has repeatedly broken weekly records for new Covid-19 deaths.Support this coverage →