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Bolsonaro tells Brazil to ‘stop whining’ over COVID despite world’s second highest death toll

Written by on 05/03/2021

President Jair Bolsonaro has told Brazil to stop “whining” about coronavirus and move on from the disease.

Brazil currently has the second highest COVID-19 death toll in the world after the US, with more than 261,000 fatalities.

On Thursday, it recorded 75,102 new coronavirus cases in a day – the biggest daily rise since July and the second highest on record.

But speaking to crowds in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, Mr Bolsonaro said: “Enough fussing and whining. How much longer will the crying go on?

Pic: AP
Image: He is seen greeting families hit by flooding without a mask or PPE. Pic: AP

“How much longer will you stay at home and close everything. No one can stand it anymore.”

He added that he “regrets the deaths” but the country “needs a solution”.

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After new lockdown restrictions were brought across Brasilia, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, he described the measures as “savage” and “not good”.

The Brazilian government has been criticised for its slow vaccine rollout, with just 3.5% of its 211 million population being given their first jab.

Health officials say they plan to buy two million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by May, 16.9 million of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson jab by September and 63 million of the Moderna one by January next year.

But although the US outbreak is starting to slow, Brazil is still in the worst phase of its current wave.

The emergence of a new, more contagious variant in the Amazonas city of Manaus has seen hospitals at breaking point and running out of oxygen.

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January: Thousands protest Brazil’s COVID response

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

“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.

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But Mr Bolsonaro continues to play down the virus, describing it as a “little flu” last year and claiming many Brazilians are immune.

Despite doctors’ and scientists’ complaints that he has mismanaged the crisis, the president’s popularity surged after promising $57.7bn (£41.6bn) in emergency aid payments for poorer Brazilians last year.

Brazil’s Senate voted yesterday to renew the aid programme for four months, but it is yet to be approved by Congress.

 Sky News

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