RIO DE JANEIRO — The administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday unveiled new measures to expand use of chloroquine, the predecessor of an anti-malaria drug promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump as a treatment for COVID-19.
The new guidelines were approved by Gen. Eduardo Pazuello, who became interim Health Minister after his predecessor was fired five days ago. Pazuello had no health experience until he became the ministry’s No. 2 official in April.
Bolsonaro wrote on his official Facebook page that “there is still no scientific evidence, but it is being monitored and used in Brazil and worldwide.”
Health officials say the virus has killed nearly 18,000 Brazilians and infected at least 271,600 people in the South American country.
In Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city, authorities announced a six-day “mega-holiday” in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, after the state’s death toll surpassed 5,000 this week.