Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday has given the charge of the health ministry to an army general with no prior medical experience.
General Eduardo Pazuello is the country’s new health minister four months after working as an interim following a series of resignations by his predecessors over differences with Bolsonaro.
Also read | Brazil President Bolsonaro says COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory
With this latest move, Bolsonaro, a military veteran himself, has 11 officers from the forces in the 21-member cabinet.
Also read | Brazil: Teachers of Rio de Janeiro protest over resumption of face-to-face classes
Pazuello has endorsed the Brazilian president’s views on the pandemic, including recommending hydroxychloroquine as a treatment to COVID-19 despite a lack of evidence to back the claim.
“We had to learn on the job, change the wheel on the car while it was moving. The responsibility was enormous, but we had total freedom to implement the necessary measures,” Pazuello said at the swearing-in event held in Brasilia, as quoted by news agency AFP.
Months ago when the pandemic condition started worsening in the Latin American nation, health ministers Luiz Henrique Mandetta and Nelson Teich resigned, rejecting Bolsonaro’s approach to handle the deadly outbreak.
With the death of over 134,000 people, Brazil has second-largest death toll worldwide and the only country after the US to record over 100,000 fatalities.
The country also has about 4.5 million coronavirus cases, making it the third-worst affected after the US and India.