Brazilian minister tests positive for Covid after meeting maskless Johnson

Marcelo Queiroga sat close to Boris Johnson and Liz Truss at New York meeting

Brazil’s health minister, Marcelo Queiroga, has tested positive for Covid and gone into isolation, 24 hours after meeting a maskless Boris Johnson and other British officials in New York.

Queiroga, who sat close to Johnson and the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, on Monday during their meeting with Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, announced his positive test on Twitter on Tuesday night.

Soon after, the Brazilian news website Metrópoles reported that Brazil had decided to abort its participation in the UN general assembly as a result of what was the second confirmed case of Covid in its delegation.

Queiroga, 55, a cardiologist, was filmed shaking hands with Johnson and patting the prime minister on the arm during Monday’s gathering at the consulate general’s house in New York.

Brazilian Health Minister - who tested positive for Covid - was staying at the same hotel as President Biden in NYC.

He went to the UN today to watch President Bolsonaro’s speech.

Here, he shakes hands with Prime Minister Boris Jonhson- who met Biden today at the White House. pic.twitter.com/CSxdBuTIfY

— Raquel Krähenbühl (@Rkrahenbuhl) September 22, 2021

Despite the fact Bolsonaro publicly claims not to have been vaccinated against Covid, Johnson, Truss and other members of the British delegation were not wearing masks for the encounter, although Queiroga, who sat opposite the British politicians on a sofa, did use one.

Hours after the meeting, Queiroga was caught on camera making obscene hand gestures to Brazilian protesters who had taken to the streets of New York to denounce Bolsonaro’s anti-science handling of the Covid outbreak, which has killed nearly 600,000 Brazilians.

The following day Queiroga, who was reportedly staying at the same hotel as the US president, Joe Biden, was at the UN headquarters for the opening session of its general assembly. He reportedly took part in meetings with the UN secretary general, António Guterres, and Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda.

Queiroga was vaccinated against Covid in January, two months before being made health minister, and shared a video of the moment on Twitter.

Other members of Bolsonaro’s cabinet have been more discreet about getting their shots. In April one senior minister, Luiz Eduardo Ramos, claimed he had snuck off to a shopping mall in the capital, Brasília, to be jabbed, apparently in order to avoid offending the president.

In a leaked video message, Ramos said: “Like any human being, I want to live. I have two wonderful grandkids, a beautiful wife, I still have dreams. So I want to carry on living.”

Bolsonaro, who has dismissed Covid as a “little flu”, used his speech to the UN assembly to attack lockdown and isolation measures, which he falsely claimed caused inflation, and to tout ineffective and potentially harmful coronavirus “remedies”, known in Brazil as “early treatment”.

“We do not understand why many countries – along with a large part of the media – opposed ‘early treatment’,” Brazil’s far-right leader told world leaders, announcing that he himself had taken such drugs, which include the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine and the antiparasitic ivermectin.

Bolsonaro’s former health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta goaded Queiroga after his announcement on Tuesday, asking: “Is he going to undergo ‘early treatment’?”

After meeting Queiroga and Bolsonaro, Johnson travelled to Washington to meet Biden on Tuesday. Pictures showed both leaders wearing masks for that encounter in the Oval Office of the White House.

Contributor

Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Boris Johnson uses Bolsonaro meeting to promote AstraZeneca jab
British prime minister tells unprotected Brazilian president Covid vaccine is ‘great’ while not wearing mask

Peter Walker and Tom Phillips

20, Sep, 2021 @7:41 PM

Article image
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus
Far-right president, who has repeatedly trivialized pandemic, announces: ‘It came back positive’

Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro

08, Jul, 2020 @3:06 AM

Article image
Bolsonaro fires popular health minister after dispute over coronavirus response
Luiz Mandetta defended physical distancing while Bolsonaro has downplayed impact of coronavirus and called for measures to be relaxed

Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro

16, Apr, 2020 @10:27 PM

Article image
Bolsonaro threatens to sack health minister over coronavirus criticism
Brazilian president warns Luiz Henrique Mandetta not to speak out against him in public

Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro

29, Mar, 2020 @1:25 PM

Article image
Experts warn Brazil facing darkest days of Covid crisis as deaths hit highest level
Intensive care units in 17 of the country’s 26 states were near capacity, while six states and the capital had run out of ICU beds

Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro

01, Mar, 2021 @7:28 PM

Article image
Trump met with Brazilian official who tested positive for coronavirus
Photo shows president standing next to communications secretary to Jair Bolsonaro who tested positive

Martin Pengelly in New York and Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro

12, Mar, 2020 @8:48 PM

Article image
Can Johnson and Bolsonaro's brushes with Covid offer lessons for Trump?
Trump is the third of the world’s populist leaders to discover that bluster and wishful thinking are no match for the virus

Julian Borger in Washington Sam Cowie in São Paulo and Peter Beaumont in London

04, Oct, 2020 @6:20 AM

Article image
What happened at Cop26 today – day one at a glance
Summary of the main developments on kick-off day of the UN climate summit in Glasgow

Tom Levitt

01, Nov, 2021 @7:01 PM

Article image
Judge orders Bolsonaro to resume publishing Brazil Covid-19 data
Move comes amid accusations government was trying to suppress the scale of the crisis

Tom Phillips and Caio Barretto Briso in Rio de Janeiro

09, Jun, 2020 @2:25 PM

Article image
UN summit: Macron says US and Iran must resume nuclear talks – as it happened
French president says ‘I am not naive and I don’t believe in miracles’ but urges end to sanctions and resumption of negotiations

Amanda Holpuch in New York

24, Sep, 2019 @8:06 PM