In an unsurprising move, Jair Bolsonaro fired Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta this afternoon. As our Daily Briefing informed this morning, tensions between the two have been brewing for weeks — with Mr. Mandetta and President Jair Bolsonaro defending completely opposite strategies to deal with the pandemic. The former minister is in favor of broad social isolation, while the president wants to switch the economy back on, urging people to return to work despite public health concerns. Furthermore, Mr. Mandetta and the president butted heads over the use of antimalarial drug chloroquine to treat Covid-19. Its efficacy against the virus has not been proven, yet Mr. Bolsonaro is adamant it should be prescribed as a potential cure.
The rift between the two men reached an insurmountable level after Mr. Mandetta began publicly criticizing the president in media interviews.