Bolsonaro reshuffles Cabinet amid COVID-19 surge

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made six Cabinet changes on Monday in the biggest ministerial reshuffle since he took office.

The move comes as pressure mounts on the far-right leader to address the COVID-19 crisis that's killed over 300,000 in his country.

Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo was among those who left the government.

He's one of Bolsonaro's most loyal allies and a China hawk who faced criticism from lawmakers for failing to guarantee additional COVID-19 vaccines from Beijing and Washington.

Bolsonaro moved his chief of staff to the Defense Ministry and placed a federal police officer, who's close to his family, in charge of the Justice Ministry.

The founder of a Brasilia-based political strategy firm, Creomar de Souza, said the Defense Ministry shift was particularly unexpected.

De Souza added, "Bolsonaro is under enormous pressure and reacted to regain the political narrative."

Meanwhile, Brazil is suffering its worst phase of the global health crisis, with deaths topping 3,000 a day and a new variant raging through its population.

Bolsonaro has notoriously railed against lockdowns, sowed doubts about vaccines and pushed unproven treatments.

Brazil trails only the United States in total COVID-19 cases and deaths.