Brazil’s health minister tests positive for Covid-19 in New York

Brasilia, Sep 21 (EFE).- Brazil’s health minister, who is in New York City with President Jair Bolsonaro to attend the United Nations General Assembly, announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Marcelo Queiroga said that he will remain in quarantine in the United States, following all health safety protocols.

The Brazilian government said in a statement that Queiroga, who is vaccinated, is “well” and added that the rest of the members of the Brazilian delegation had been tested for the virus and found to be negative.

According to the local press, this is the second case of coronavirus in the Brazilian delegation that has traveled to New York, after a diplomat who was part of the advance group that prepared for the arrival of Bolsonaro to the city.

Queiroga arrived in New York on Sunday on the same plane as Bolsonaro, whom he accompanied the following day to a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Later, he met with Brazilian researchers working in the US and attended a dinner hosted in honor of Bolsonaro at the official residence of the Brazilian ambassador to the UN.

While leaving the reception, the minister got up from his car seat and showed both his middle fingers to protesters demonstrating against the Brazilian president.

On Tuesday, Queiroga accompanied Bolsonaro to the plenary session of the UNGA, where they met with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Speaking at the opening of the UNGA, Bolsonaro, who denies the gravity of Covid-19, criticized the social distancing measures adopted to combat the pandemic and the vaccination passports that some countries are beginning to require.

The Brazilian leader, who claims that he has not yet received a Covid-19 vaccine and does not intend to get one until the “last” Brazilian is vaccinated, said that while his government supports vaccination, it does support the use of a vaccine passport.

Bolsonaro’s resistance to vaccination has caused several controversies in New York, whose mayor, Bill de Blasio, criticized the Brazilian president’s position.

Bolsonaro also took advantage of his speech at the UN to defend a controversial cocktail of unproven drugs backed by his government to combat the pandemic, including chloroquine.

With 21.2 million cases and over 591,000 deaths, Brazil is the country with the second-highest number of deaths due to the virus, behind only the US, and the third highest caseload after the US and India. EFE


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