SAO PAULO: Brazil's health minister, who took office less than a month ago, resigned on Friday in a sign of continuing upheaval in the nation's battle with the COVID-19 pandemic and President Jair Bolsonaro's pressure for the nation to prioritize the economy over health-driven lockdowns.
Nelson Teich's resignation was confirmed by the Health Ministry. The oncologist, a former health care consultant, took the job on April 17 under pressure to align the ministry’s actions with the president’s view that the economy must not be destroyed by restrictions to control spread of the virus.
Bolsonaro fired Teich's predecessor, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, after disagreements over efforts to contain the new coronavirus. Mandetta was one of Brazil's most popular ministers.
Officials say that more than 13,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Brazil, though some experts say the figure is significantly higher due to insufficient testing, and analysts say the peak of the crisis has yet to hit Latin America’s largest nation.