The health minister to Brazil, Nelson Tiech, resigned on Friday after less than a month on the job, another sign of the continuing upheaval in the country and its battling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tiech’s resignation was confirmed by the health ministry. Tiech was an oncologist and former health care consultant, who took the job on April 17th under pressure to align the ministry’s actions with the president’s views that the economy can’t be destroyed by lockdown policies.
Officials say that more than 13,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Brazil, though some experts say the real number is significantly higher due to poor testing.
Tiech’s number two, Gen. Eduardo Pazuello, who had no experience in health until joining the ministry, will be the interim minister until President Bolsonaro finds a permanent replacement.
Bolsonaro fired Tiech’s predecessor, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, on April 16th after the two had disagreements over the handling of the coronavirus situation. Mandetta was one of the most popular ministers in the government, and sided with many governors’ stay-at-home orders, something that Bolsonaro strongly opposed. This eventually led to Mandetta being fired and Tiech coming in to try and appease both sides.
After Tiech’s resignation was announced, pot-banging protests could be heard around Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
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