Brazil health minister Teich resigns just weeks into the job

Brazil’s health minister resigned after being in office for less than a month following disagreements over of the government’s handling of the country’s escalating coronavirus crisis.

Nelson Teich had criticised a decree issued by President Jair Bolsonaro allowing gyms and beauty parlours to reopen.

His predecessor was sacked after disagreeing with Mr Bolsonaro.

The far-right president continues to oppose lockdown measures.

He has downplayed the virus as “a little flu” and has said the spread of Covid-19 is inevitable, attracting global criticism.

Brazil has recently surged passed Germany and France in terms of its coronavirus caseload, becoming one of the world’s hotspots with more than 200,000 cases. The latest daily figures on Thursday showed 844 new deaths recorded, bringing the official death toll to just shy of 14,000.

An official reason is yet to be given.

He has clashed with President Bolsonaro over several aspects of how the government has dealt with the spiralling epidemic.

He disagreed with the president’s desire to widely use chloroquine as a treatment. The drug has gained widespread attention although the World Health Organization (WHO) says there’s no definitive evidence it works.

Mr Teich also butted heads with the president over plans to open up the economy, saying last week that he was not consulted ahead of an order that paved the way for gyms, beauty salons and hairdressers to reopen.

But disagreements over how chloroquine should be used was the final straw, the Globo newspaper reported.

He is second health minister to leave the post in under a month. Luiz Henrique Mandetta was fired in April after President Bolsonaro publicly criticised him for urging people to observe social distancing and stay indoors.