• Friday, Apr 23, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:47 am

After record Covid-19 deaths, Bolsonaro tells Brazilians to stop whining

  • Published at 09:27 pm March 5th, 2021
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro Reuters

Brazil's surging second wave has triggered new restrictions in its capital, Brasilia, and its largest city, São Paulo

After two straight days of record Covid-19 deaths in Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday told Brazilians to stop "whining” and move on, in his latest remarks attacking distancing measures and downplaying the gravity of the pandemic.

Brazil has the world's second-highest death toll over the past year, after the US. While the US outbreak is ebbing, Brazil is facing its worst phase of the pandemic yet, pushing its hospital system to the brink of collapse.

"Enough fussing and whining. How much longer will the crying go on?" Bolsonaro told the crowd at an event. "How much longer will you stay at home and close everything? No one can stand it anymore. We regret the deaths, again, but we need a solution," he asked. 

The Health Ministry registered 75,102 additional cases of coronavirus on Thursday, the most in a single day since July and the second-highest on record. Brazil also recorded 1,699, decreasing slightly from the previous two days of record deaths.

Brazil's surging second wave has triggered new restrictions in its capital, Brasilia, and its largest city, São Paulo. Tourist mecca Rio de Janeiro on Thursday announced a city-wide curfew and early closing time for the restaurants.

The federal government has been slow to purchase and distribute vaccines, with less than 3.5% of the population has gotten one shot of vaccines. 

The government is working to obtain additional vaccines from more suppliers. The Health Ministry of the country is negotiating to buy 2 million additional Pfizer doses by May, 16.9 million Janssen doses by September, and 63 million doses of the Moderna vaccine by January 2022, according to documents reviewed by news sources on Thursday.

Particularly the headache of health authorities now is the emergence of a new coronavirus variant from the Amazon region that appears more contagious and more able to reinfect those who had already been infected with Covid-19. 

Government-affiliated medical institute Fiocruz said that it has detected the Amazon, United Kingdom, and South African variants spreading in various places across the country.

"We are experiencing the worst outlook for the pandemic since it started," said Gonzalo Vecina Neto, a medical doctor and former head of Brazilian health regulator Anvisa.

"Mutations are the result of the increased reproduction of the virus. The greater the number of viruses, the faster the transmission, the more mutations we have," he added. 

State governors and doctors have complained that the federal government has mismanaged the coronavirus crisis, as Bolsonaro has downplayed its severity and opposed lockdowns across the state.

Nevertheless, Bolsonaro's popularity has been supported by $57.7 billion in emergency aid payments to poorer Brazilians last year.

The Senate voted on Thursday to renew the aid program at a smaller scale, handing out $44 per month for four months, at a cost of up to 44 billion reais. The proposal must still be approved by Brazil's lower house of Congress.

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