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COVID19: Brazil health minister Teich resigns just weeks into the work

Brazilian Health Minister Nelson Teich resigned on Friday after just weeks on the work , adding to turmoil in President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of an accelerating coronavirus outbreak in one among the world’s worst hotspots.

Teich, whom Bolsonaro had criticised as being too timid within the push to reopen the economy and advocate the utilization of anti-malarial drugs to fight the virus, said he had decided to resign from his position.

During a press conference on Friday, Teich thanked Bolsonaro for offering him the chance to figure as minister and said he had given it his best but gave no reason for why he had chosen to resign.

The loss of his second health minister in but a month spurred criticism of the right-wing president from politicians and involves his impeachment. In Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo , where the disease has pushed public hospitals to capacity, Brazilians banged pot and pans from their windows in protest

Military members of the Brazilian cabinet are pushing for deputy health minister Eduardo Pazuello, a military general on active duty, to become the new health minister, making permanent his interim role, a government source told Reuters press agency .

Teich struggled to succeed in consensus with state governments over guidelines on reopening their economies, as Bolsonaro has demanded. He expressed surprise at a recent news conference when he learned of a presidential decree allowing gyms, beauty parlors and hairdressers to open for business.

The aggravation for Teich may are Bolsonaro’s insistence on a wider use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the novel coronavirus, which the minister has resisted thanks to a scarcity of scientific evidence.

The US Food and Drug Administration last month cautioned against the utilization of the malaria drug, which President Donald Trump has touted as a “game changer”. Medical researchers have found that the drug, first approved in 1955, provided no benefit and potentially higher risk of death for COVID-19 patients.

Teich resigned each day after Brazil reported a record number of latest coronavirus cases. He had replaced Nelson Mandetta, who was forced out on April 16 for resisting Bolsonaro’s pressure to market hydroxychloroquine and fight government social distancing orders.

This week Brazil passed Germany and France in coronavirus cases, with quite 200,000 confirmed diagnoses by Thursday, when the health ministry reported 844 new deaths, bringing the price to 13,933.

Opposition and allied politicians criticised Bolsonaro’s intransigence. Lawmaker Marcelo Ramos of the centrist Liberal Party said the president would only accept a minister without regard for science-based public health policy.

Congressional opposition leader Alessandro Molon warned that Brazil was heading toward a public health catastrophe and said the president should be impeached.

“Bolsonaro doesn’t need a technical minister, he wants someone who agrees together with his ideological insanity, like ending social distancing and using chloroquine,” Molon, a lawmaker from the Brazilian Socialist Party , said during a statement.

Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus has been widely criticised globally as he has minimised the severity of the disease and told Brazilians to ignore quarantine restrictions.

“Let us pray,” former minister Mandetta said on Twitter after Teich’s resignation, calling for faith in science and support for Brazil’s public health system.

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