Brazil health minister who shook hands with Boris Johnson tests positive for Covid

A Brazilian health minister who shook hands with a maskless Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus in New York.

Marcelo Quiroga sat with the British prime minister and new Foreign Secretary Liz Truss during a bilateral meeting with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday.

A statement from the Brazilian government said that Mr Quiroga is currently in good health and will remain in isolation in the US. The health minister received his first shot of a Covid vaccine in January.

The 55-year-old cardiologist was filmed shaking hands with Mr Johnson and is also thought to be staying at the same hotel as US President Joe Biden, 78, who is in the city for the UN’s General Assembly.

Queiroga also tweeted a picture with first lady Michele Bolsonaro and on Monday had breakfast with several employees of investment funds in New York.

Mr Johnson was hospitalised and moved to intensive care with coronavirus in April last year and deputised by former Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab while he was unwell at the height of the pandemic. He later made a full recovery from the virus.

After his Covid scare Mr Johnson has been a strong advocate for taking a vaccine and at his meeting with Bolsonaro said “I’ve had it twice” in reference to the AstraZeneca jab.

The Brazilian leader pointed at himself and said “not yet,” then laughed.

In a statement after the meeting, Mr Johnson’s spokesperson said the prime minister had “underlined the importance of vaccines as our best tool to fight the virus and save lives around the world, and emphasised the important role the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has played in the U.K, Brazil and elsewhere.”

Bolsonaro has cut a defiant figure at the General Assembly despite being widely criticised for his response to the pandemic that has killed more than 590,000 people in Brazil.

The Brazilian president flouted the requirement for attendees to be vaccinated against the virus and again repeated unproven “early treatment” methods for Covid-19.

Additional reporting by agencies

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