Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro replaces six ministers as Covid crisis balloons

Fernando Azevedo e Silva resigned from his position as Brazil's Defense Minister on Monday.

Sao Paulo (CNN)Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro replaced six of his ministers on Monday, in a reshuffle that appears designed to secure greater loyalty as the country's Covid-19 crisis balloons.

Resignation letters were released by now ex-ministers throughout the day, with Former Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva releasing a statement saying he had "preserved the Armed Forces as a State institution." He will be replaced by Army General Braga Netto, the former Government Minister.
Former Attorney General Andre Levi, who refused to sign Bolsonaro's lawsuit to lift three state governors' lockdown orders, also published a letter of resignation. He will be replaced by Andre Mendonca, Brazil's former Justice Minister, whose former seat at the Justice Ministry will now be filled by Federal Police Chief Anderson Torres, a friend of the Bolsonaro family.
    The former Secretary of State, General Luiz Eduardo Ramos, was appointed Government Minister. Flavia Arruda, a federal deputy, is now the Secretary of State.
      And the former Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Araujo has been replaced by diplomat Carlos Alberto França.
      These changes appear to put several army generals closer to Bolsonaro in more strategic positions, following several other replacements at the top of Brazil's federal government this month.
      Marcelo Queiroga, Brazil's fourth health minister since the beginning of the pandemic, was sworn in quietly just last week, replacing Eduardo Pazuello. A new Covid-19 crisis committee including state officials was also recently formed to confront Brazil's devastating coronavirus resurgence.
      On Saturday, the country's daily death toll surpassed 3,000 for second day in a row, and on Thursday night, Brazil's Health Ministry reported the gruesome figure of more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases confirmed in a single day -- the country's highest such figure since the pandemic began.