The President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, dismissed his Health Minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, on Thursday, after several weeks of tensions that have worsened at the same rate as the crisis of the new coronavirus, which already leaves 1,924 dead and 30,425 confirmed cases. .
Since the virus arrived in Brazil in late February, Mandetta has publicly expressed his differences with President Bolsonaro regarding the need for social isolation, which the president frontally opposes on the grounds that it is necessary to keep afloat the economy of the country.
Mandetta’s departure had been speculated for a week, but it materialized this Thursday after a hard pulse between the two politicians.
This is the chronology of the main events and disagreements between the President and the Minister of Health of Brazil:
February 26: Brazil confirms the first case of the new coronavirus in the country.
March 15: The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, participates in a demonstration in Brasilia in favor of his Government, contrary to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health itself.
March 17: Brazil records the first death from the new coronavirus.
March 20: The first discrepancies arise between Bolsonaro and his Minister of Health. While Bolsonaro insists on criticizing the states’ recommendations to suspend religious services and close shopping centers, Mandetta warns that the health system will collapse in the coming months if the number of infections is not stopped.
March 22: Mandetta warns of the use of chloroquine, a drug that Bolsonaro has repeatedly advocated for the treatment of COVID-19 despite the fact that there are no conclusive medical studies on it.
March 23: Mandetta’s popularity during the management of the health crisis begins to overshadow the Brazilian president. According to a survey by the Datafolha institute, the minister’s approval for his management during the pandemic reaches 55%, ahead of Bolsonaro, which gets 35%.
March 24: The state of Sao Paulo, the most populous in the country and the most affected by the pandemic, announces the start of the quarantine to stop the expansion of the coronavirus, a measure strongly criticized by Bolsonaro, who “defends the return to work ”
The Ministry of Health supports the quarantine, although it suggests that this measure, being an “extremely bitter remedy”, could be limited to “a neighborhood or a city” instead of affecting an entire state.
March 28: As Bolsonaro supporters promote campaigns to end confinement, the Health Minister reinforces the need to maintain social isolation, defends that Brazilians stay home and stresses that his team will be guided only by “science ”
March 29: President Bolsonaro, contradicting the recommendations for social isolation defended by Mandetta, visits several shops in Brasilia.
March 30: Bolsonaro, who came to describe the new coronavirus as “influenza”, livens up his speech and calls for a “national pact” for the preservation of life “but also of jobs.” Mandetta insists on the need for social isolation for the entire Brazilian population.
April 1: One day after lowering the tone of his speech, Bolsonaro criticizes the governors again and threatens a lack of shortages in the country through a video whose content was denied.
April 2: Divergences between Bolsonaro and the Minister of Health grow. The head of state accuses Mandetta of “lack of humility” and assures that no minister is exempt from being fired.
April 3: The approval of the Ministry of Health continues to rise amid the crisis of the new coronavirus and reaches 76%, more than double that of President Bolsonaro, which falls to 33%, according to the latest Datafolha poll.
April 5: President Bolsonaro says he is not “afraid” of resigning members of his government who “became stars”. The tension between Mandetta and the Brazilian president increases.
April 6: After several conjectures about his departure, Mandetta confirms his permanence in office. “We are going to continue facing our enemy (the new coronavirus),” he said after a meeting with Bolsonaro and other ministers.
April 12: After several days of detente, Mandetta makes a veiled criticism of Bolsonaro and demands a “unified speech” by the Government to combat the new coronavirus, in an interview with the Globo network. The message generated discontent in Bolsonaro’s closest circle.