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New Brazil Health Minister Questions Use of Self-Isolation to Fight Coronavirus

Brazil Health Minister Nelson Teich speaks during his swearing-in ceremony at Planalto palace in Brasilia, Brazil, April 17, 2020.

Brazil's new health minister is casting doubts about how governors use data in imposing self-isolation measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus, saying there needs to be a standard model of analyzing information.

On Wednesday, in his first public statements since taking the job six days ago, Nelson Teich said "if you produce ‘alarming’ numbers and people treat a mathematics model as the truth, you will worsen the scare and expectations of the society."

Teich appears to be echoing the sentiments of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who fired the previous health minister partly over his support of the governors' stay-at-home measures that he said were bad for the economy.

Teich says he will unveil the administration's model for handling the outbreak next week. He said Brazil is looking at ways of backing away from social isolation practices, although media reports say the virus has not peaked in the country.

Brazil has reported more than 46,000 infections and more than 2,900 deaths.