GOING against expert advice, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has announced that he wants the country to lift restrictions and get back to business, despite the increasing number of new coronavirus (Covid-19) cases. The country now has 3,417 people diagnosed with Covid-19, and 92 fatalities as a result of the disease.
Using the Slogan ‘Brazil Cannot Stop’, Bolsonaro said he wants people to get back to their normal life – as “autonomous people can’t wait”. He accused local officials who have implemented severe lockdowns, of “destroying the country”. “It’s not my responsibility if companies are shutting down,” he stated, adding that mayors and towns that organised lockdowns should pay for employment costs.
According to Bolsonaro, the coronavirus is nothing more than the flu, and has been exaggerated by the media. Just yesterday, he commented that “Brazilians never catch anything, even when they dive into sewage”, insinuating that they may have “already developed the antibodies to stop the virus’s spread”.
Although many have accused Bolsonaro’s actions as ‘irresponsible’ given what’s happening in the rest of the world, many of Brazil’s governors are being pressured into lifting restrictions. In fact, three governors (of Mato Gross, Santa Catarina and Rondonia) have already given in to Bolsonaro’s demands and have partially reopened commerce and public transport.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro’s health minister, has warned that the country’s healthcare system is likely to collapse by the end of April from a surge of COVID-19 patients.