Brazil’s health minister tested positive for the coronavirus Tuesday, just hours after attending the United Nations General Assembly.
Marcelo Queiroga is the second member of President Jair Bolsonaro’s delegation to the United Nations to test positive. The first was a member of the advance team that arrived before the president. Queiroga says he will quarantine for 14 days in New York City.
Video shows Queiroga shaking hands with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, the day he tested positive for the virus. The Brazilian official is wearing a mask, as he said he was the entire day; the British prime minister is not. President Joe Biden, whom Johnson later met with at the White House, spoke at the U.N. the same day; it is as yet unclear if anyone in the U.S. delegation came into close contact with Queiroga or will need to be tested.
Bolsonaro himself, who contracted COVID-19 in July 2020, has refused to be vaccinated and promoted unproven treatments for the respiratory illness. The coronavirus has devastated Brazil, killing 591,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Unlike Bolsonaro, Queiroga is fully vaccinated and pushed for his boss to get the jab just days ago in a livestream, telling the president bluntly, “You need to get vaccinated.” The health official even administered immunizations to Bolsonaro’s politician sons Eduardo and Flavio himself.
But in a display reminiscent of his pugnacious boss, Queiroga flipped both his middle fingers to protesters as he left the U.N. Tuesday.
Bolsonaro’s unvaccinated status has complicated his visit to the General Assembly, one of the world’s largest gatherings of diplomats. At their meeting, Johnson told Bolsonaro to “get AstraZeneca vaccines,” to which Bolsonaro responded, “Not yet.” Bolsonaro has claimed he has immunity from his previous bout with the virus and said he’ll get the jab after every Brazilian has been able to take one.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made his feelings about the Brazilian leader’s presence known Tuesday, tweeting a link to the city’s vaccination site locator accompanied only by “.@jairbolsonaro.” The Brazilian president has been forced to eat outside everywhere he goes, as the city’s restaurants require proof of vaccination to dine indoors.
It is not the first time a Brazilian delegation has exposed other world leaders to COVID-19. In March 2020, Bolsonaro and several aides attended a dinner with former President Donald Trump prior to Kimberly Guilfoyle’s birthday party at Mar-a-Lago. Bolsonaro’s press secretary, his top diplomat in Washington, and a Brazilian senator all tested positive after the dinner, as did multiple guests at the party. A week after the party, President Donald Trump tested negative.
Bolsonaro’s son took to Fox News on Tuesday evening to complain about the treatment his father received from the mayor.
“It shows a lot how left-wing people are. They want to control everything,” Eduardo Bolsonaro told Tucker Carlson.