Defying health experts’ advice, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro violated social-distancing guidelines on Sunday, May 17, 2020, after he joined a pose for photographs with children among those who gathered for a protest at the presidential palace. Although he wore a face mask, the President welcomed the demonstration and mingled with the protestors who were also supporting to lift quarantines as instructed by the country’s health experts.
Rising Fast of the Coronavirus Cases in Brazil
Brazil reported that it has surpassed the number of virus infections against two European countries namely Spain and Italy on Saturday, which made the American country the world’s fourth-largest affected by the virus pandemic. The data released by Health Ministry on Sunday showed that 7,938 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total above 241,000 while the death toll has increased by 485 to 16,118.
Bolsonaro’s government has recently lost two health ministers in a month as there were disagreements regarding the implementation of preventive measures to fight the virus pandemic and both of whom resisted the President’s move against quarantines. Arguing that Brazilians wanted to reopen the economy and started business operations, Bolsonaro stated, “Above all (the people) want freedom, they want democracy, they want respect.”
Last week, an opinion poll showed that two-thirds of Brazilians were in favor of the imposition of preventive measures such as social distancing to contain the outbreak, which governors and health experts also recommended, whereas Bolsonaro wanted to reopen of business.
Brazil Virus Test Lagging
On Friday, Nelson Teich resigned as health minister due to the difference of opinions and ideas towards the policies to contain the virus spread while the President was in favor of rolling back quarantines and the widespread use of unproven drugs, such as chloroquine, to fight the virus. Bolsonaro’s supporters outside the presidential palace on Sunday chanted “Chlo-ro-quine! Chlo-ro-quine!” as well as “We want to work!”
The office of the Vice President (VP) reported that the VP Hamilton Mourao went into isolation on Saturday after a public servant who was close to him was diagnosed but tested negative for the coronavirus last week.
Sources reported that nationwide testing of the coronavirus cases in Brazil was still lagged far behind European nations such as Italy and Spain. According to the Health Ministry, Brazil had processed nearly 338,000 novel coronavirus tests in official labs by the beginning of last week while an additional 145,000 tests were under analysis or waiting in line. By contrast, Italy and Spain have reported having conducted some 1.9 million official diagnostic tests for the virus each.
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