| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Brazil’s Health Minister tests positive for COVID-19 in NYC

According to the administration, Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tested positive for COVID-19 just hours after accompanying President Jair Bolsonaro to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

According to the government’s media office, Queiroga will be quarantined in New York.

The statement stated, “The minister is doing well.” The rest of the group tested negative for the virus, according to the report.

Queiroga told CNN Brasil that he spent the entire time in the United Nations building wearing a mask.

Bolsonaro, a vaccine skeptic, defied U.N. rules that asked all those attending the assembly to be vaccinated. He has bragged about not getting vaccinated.

In his speech to world leaders at a meeting where the global coronavirus pandemic was top of the agenda, Bolsonaro said his government did not support the use of a vaccine passport and stood by treatment of the virus with unproven drugs such as the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine.

He said Brazil’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19 had been successful and that all adults who wanted a vaccine would be fully inoculated by November.

With unvaccinated diners barred from eating in New York restaurants, Bolsonaro and his entourage ate pizza on a sidewalk on their first night in the city on Sunday.

The health minister was the second member of the Brazilian delegation in New York to have tested positive. A young diplomat who was part of an advance team preparing Bolsonaro’s visit tested positive on the weekend and was isolated.

After the United States, COVID-19 has killed 591,440 Brazilians, making it the world’s second-deadliest outbreak.

As immunization spreads across the country, the rolling 14-day average of COVID mortality has dropped to 519 per day, down from nearly 3,000 at the pandemic’s peak in April.

Last year, 22 members of Bolsonaro’s delegation acquired coronavirus during a trip to the United States to see former US President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort, in the worst case of transmission in a government that neglected measures.

Bolsonaro, who looks forward to Trump as a political role model, has spoken out against COVID-19 lockdowns and rarely wears a mask.

  • Reuters