Brazilian health minister tests positive for COVID-19 after attending UN meeting

The minister is the second member of President Jair Bolsonaro's entourage to test positive for the virus since arriving in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Two men speaking closely with one another wearing face masks

Marcelo Queiroga (left) will remain in the US for a period of isolation. Source: AFP

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the UN General Assembly in New York that was inaugurated by his president, Jair Bolsonaro, according to an official statement.

"The other members of the delegation have been tested and are negative," the official Brazilian government press release said.

Brazil's health minister gives protesters middle finger in New York

Mr Queiroga, who had received a COVID-19 vaccine, was the second member of Mr Bolsonaro's entourage to test positive for the virus since arriving in New York.

The 55-year-old health minister will remain in the United States for a period of isolation, even though the rest of the delegation has returned to Brazil.

Mr Bolsonaro, who appeared without a mask on several occasions during the trip, has not been vaccinated and repeated that he would be "the last" Brazilian to receive the vaccine.

Mr Queiroga was with Mr Bolsonaro, who last year survived a bout of the virus, at several events, including a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday.

He was "doing well," the statement said.

He wrote on Twitter that while following "all health security protocols", the ministry "will continue to take firm action to deal with the pandemic in Brazil".

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro (third from left) eating pizza on the sidewalk in New York City.
Source: Twitter/@RenanPeixoto_

Mr Bolsonaro caused a stir on social media after a photograph showed him taking few precautions against contagion while around others in his delegation, as he ate a slice of pizza from a New York street vendor.

The health minister was the only one in the photo wearing a mask, but he had pulled it down under his chin.

Under fire for his controversial handling of the pandemic, which has claimed more than 591,000 lives in Brazil, Mr Bolsonaro opened the General Assembly with a speech in which he made several misleading or inaccurate statements, some of which related to the pandemic, according to AFP’s Factcheck team.

Published 22 September 2021 at 3:59pm
Source: AFP - SBS