Bolsonaro prioritises chaos over welfare of Brazilian people
Brazilian president undermines his own government’s COVID-19 strategy by flaunting social distancing measures.
Over Easter, Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, repeatedly contravened his own health ministry’s distancing recommendations by going out for doughnuts, shaking hands with supporters fans and proclaiming “No one will hinder my right to come and go.” During one outing, Bolsonaro was filmed wiping his nose with his hand before shaking an elderly lady’s hand.
Since his election last year, Bolsonaro has slashed the public health system’s budget and on 16 April he sacked his health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta.
Bolsonaro has dismissed the coronavirus as no more than a “gripezinha” (small flu) and suggested that Brazilians have acquired an immunity to disease by “diving into sewers”.
Specialists in public health and infectious diseases believe his behaviour is eroding the only measures standing between Brazil and a healthcare disaster.
Marcos Lago, an infectious diseases specialist at Rio de Janeiro’s Pedro Ernesto University Hospital, told The Guardian that Bolsonaro’s reckless conduct was confusing people over the need to stay at home.
“He’s making a very dangerous bet … that Brazil won’t behave like the US, like England, like Italy. I think that’s an irresponsible bet because there’s a very big chance a catastrophe will happen and the chance of one not happening is very small.”