Brazil health minister resigns amid coronavirus crisis

Agence France-Presse
Brazilian Health Minister Nelson Teich and President Jair Bolsonaro reportedly disagree over using chloroquine to treat the new coronavirus

RESIGNATION. In this file photo taken on April 17, 2020 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (R) embraces his new Health Minister Nelson Teich – in replacement of Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who had several disagreements with Bolsonaro in conducting the fight against the COVID-19 – during his taking in ceremony at Planalto Palace in Brasilia. File photo by Evaristo Sa /AFP

BRASÍLIA, Brazil – Brazilian Health Minister Nelson Teich resigned Friday, May 15, over what a ministry official said was “incompatibility” with President Jair Bolsonaro’s approach to fighting the country’s spiraling coronavirus crisis.

Teich, a 62-year-old oncologist, served in the far-right president’s cabinet for less than a month.

His predecessor, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, resigned on April 16, also after clashing with Bolsonaro, a vocal critic of the stay-at-home measures Mandetta recommended to contain the virus.

Teich and Bolsonaro reportedly disagreed over using chloroquine to treat the new coronavirus. Bolsonaro touts the drug as a promising treatment, despite studies casting doubt on its effectiveness and raising concerns about its safety.

The ministry announced Teich’s resignation in a brief statement, saying a press conference would be held later.

The news drew anti-Bolsonaro protests. In Rio de Janeiro, residents banged pots and pans out their windows, shouting “Get out, Bolsonaro!”

Brazil has emerged as one of the countries hit hardest in the pandemic, with a sharply rising death toll that has reached nearly 14,000. –