Brazil's Health Minister Tests Positive For Covid-19

Published September 22nd, 2021 - 07:13 GMT
Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga are pictured during the launching ceremony of a new registry of professional fishermen, at Planalto Palace in Brasilia on June 29, 2021. / EVARISTO SA
Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tested positive for COVID-19

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga has COVID-19 while attending a United Nations General Assembly in New York City where he met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and stayed at the same hotel as Joe Biden. 

Brazil's presidential office announced on Tuesday that Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga had tested positive for the virus and will be quarantining in New York for two weeks.

Queiroga had met with Johnson on Monday, where they shook hands and stood beside each other while the British leader was not wearing a mask. 

It is unclear whether Queiroga is vaccinated.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stands as a vaccine skeptic and previously boasted about attending the UN meeting without being vaccinated, CBS reports.

Bolsonaro's son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, also criticized New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday after the mayor warned the president not to come to the city due to his vaccine stance, calling it a 'textbook Marxist' move. 

On Twitter, Queiroga wrote, 'I communicate to everyone that today I tested positive for #Covid19. I will be quarantined in #USA , following all health safety protocols. Meanwhile, the @minsaude will remain firm in the actions to fight the pandemic in Brazil. let's win this!' 

The health minister was the second member of the Brazilian delegation in New York to test positive for COVID after a diplomat who was part of President Bolsonaro's advance team tested positive over the weekend. 

Some members of the Brazilian delegation have canceled their participation at the remaining parts of the UN meeting to avoid possibly infection other nation's diplomats, Queiroga told CNN.  

Queiroga had also been staying at the same hotel as President Joe Biden, who also went on to meet with Johnson after the prime minister's meeting with Queiroga. 

Brazil continues to be in spotlight during the United Nations General Assembly after Bolsonaro gave his speech on Tuesday that his approach toward COVID-19 would be proven right. 

'History and science will hold everyone accountable,' he told world leaders in his address.

The right-wing Brazilian leader said he supported vaccinations but promoted early treatment of Covid-19, noting that he himself underwent 'early treatment' following a diagnosis last summer.

'We cannot understand why many countries, together with a large portion of the media, took a stance against early treatment measures,' Bolsonaro said.

Brazil's government has imposed 100-year secrecy on Bolsonaro's card, making it impossible to know for sure if he's been vaccinated against COVID-19 or not. 

He claims, however, that he did not take the vaccine and continues to defend using other medicines, including hydroxychloroquine, against the disease. 

Bolsonaro said that his government stood against vaccine mandates, such as the one he had broken to enter the United Nations. New York City requires vaccination to enter most public spaces, including convention centers.

President Biden, too, as imposed sweeping vaccine mandates that cover federal workers and those at companies with over 100 employees.

'We support vaccination efforts, however my administration has not supported a vaccine or health passport or any other vaccine-related obligations,' Bolsonaro said.

He noted that by November, 'all citizens who have chosen to be vaccinated in Brazil will be duly covered.'

In a meeting Monday night with Bolsonaro, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: 'Thanks everybody. Get AstraZeneca vaccines.'

'I've had it twice.'

'Not yet,' the Brazilian president replied.

Bolsonaro, who has been vocal in dismissing the seriousness of the virus, tested positive in July 2020. He previously described the disease as nothing more than 'a little flu' and claimed his past as an athlete would make him immune to the worst symptoms. 

Upon landing in New York City, Bolsonaro had his first meal in the U.S. in the middle of the street due to restrictive city-wide restrictions not allowing unvaccinated people to dine indoors.

Bolsonaro and his ministers had pizza slices and sodas in the middle of the street on Sunday prior to his arrival at the U.N. Tuesday morning.

Pictures of the humble meal emerged on the Minister of Tourism Gilson Machado's social media of Bolsonaro with the Brazilian Ministers of Health, Marcelo Queiroga; Justice and Public Security, Anderson Torres; Civil House, Luiz Eduardo Ramos; and President of Caixa Econômica Federal, Pedro Guimarães, according to Brazilian news site Correio Braziliense.

Also according to the report, Bolsonaro and his ministers, all unmasked, had to sneak in the back door of their hotel in New York City as they were met by a group of protesters with signs telling him he is not welcome.

Eduardo Bolsonaro appeared on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox on Tuesday night to defend his father and criticize NYC Mayor de Blasio, who said he did not want unvaccinated officials to come to New York. 

'It shows a lot about how left-wing people are. They want to control everything. I know that is a Marxist and he follows a lot of what Antonio Gramsci says,' said Eduardo, referring to the neo-Marxist founder of the Italian Communist Party. 

'I have advice for the American people. Do not think that Venezuela is something far far away from you,' he said referring to the country under socialist rule. 

'If you told Venezuelans during the 90s [the country] would turn itself to a dictatorship, they would never take it seriously.' 

De Blasio snapped back on Twitter, saying he did not regret his decision to force Bolsonaro to follow the city's indoor dining policy and urged the president to get vaccinated at NYC's many vaccination centers.  

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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