Brazil Health Minister Hospitalized With COVID-19

Brazil Health Minister Hospitalized With COVID-19
Brazil's interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello wears a protective face mask as he looks on before a national flag hoisting ceremony in front the Alvorada Palace, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in Brasilia, Brazil, on June 9, 2020. (Adriano Machado/Reuters)

BRASILIA—Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello is in stable condition in a hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

Pazuello checked into a hospital in Brasilia on Friday for dehydration, having tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 21. He will stay in the hospital until Sunday, when he will be reevaluated, the ministry said.

"There has been no need for supportive measures such as oxygen supplementation," the statement said.

One day after testing positive, Pazuello met with right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro in a hotel room, with a social media video showing the two chatting without masks. Bolsonaro recovered from a bout of COVID-19 in July.

The president said Pazuello's case was another instance demonstrating that the drug chloroquine helped those with COVID-19 to recover quickly.

Bolsonaro, who has sought to downplay the severity of the virus, has advocated for the use of the anti-malarial drug chloroquine and related hydroxychloroquine.

Pazuello, an active-duty Army general without a medical degree, has expanded access to chloroquine and allowed it to be prescribed to virtually anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus.

Roughly half of Bolsonaro's 23-member cabinet has caught the coronavirus, as well as the president and his wife.

By Lisandra Paraguassu