By Pepi Sappal • 17 April 2020 • 4:03
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonara has sacked the country’s Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta over contradicting coronavirus (Covid-19) views.
THE conflict between the two has gone on for weeks. Whereas Bolsonara down played the disease as ‘a little flu’ that has been hyped up by the media, Mandetta has urged Brazilians to follow guidelines from around the world, such as social distancing and stay indoors. While Bolsonara tried to bully regional governors into lifting restrictions, Mandetta praised them for enforcing lockdown orders.
It’s reported that tension between the two escalated at the weekend when Mandetta gave a television interview, where he urged the government to “speak with a unified voice on the crisis.” Shortly after that he was fired by Bolsonara.
However, according to earlier reports during the week, Mandetta was actually expecting to be fired. He informed the public via social media that Bolsonara had handed him his notice. He thanked his colleagues on his Twitter feed, saying: “I thank the entire team that was with me at the Ministry of Health, and I wish my successor success as the Minister of Health. I pray God and Our Lady of Aparecida to bless our country.”
According to official statistics, around 30,425 Brazilians have now been diagnosed with Covid-19 and 1,924 people have died from the disease to date. However, according to Mandetta and other health experts in the country, those numbers “grossly underrepresent” the true statistics. According to Rio’s Health Secretary Edmar Santos, “For every case reported, there are likely another 50 to 100 infected people who have not been tested.”
Mandetta has also acknowledged that the official coronavirus statistics undercount the total number of deaths from the disease, and there is great concern for not only the people living in Brazil’s overcrowded favelas, but also its indigenous communities.
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