Bolsonaro has faced increasing criticism for his disdainful attitude toward the virus, which he has dismissed as a “fantasy” and a “small flu”.
RIO DE JANEIRO| President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday stuck with his contention that concern about the new coronavirus is overblown, and accused Brazilian media of trying to stoke nationwide hysteria.
Bolsonaro said in a nationally televised address that the media had seized on the death toll in Italy, which he said is suffering so severely because of its elderly population and colder climate.
Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has claimed he “wouldn’t feel anything” if infected with coronavirus and rubbished efforts to contain the illness with large-scale quarantines as his country’s two biggest cities went into shutdown in a desperate bid to save lives.
“The virus arrived, we are confronting it, and it will pass shortly. Our lives have to continue, jobs should be maintained,” the president said.
Bolsonaro added that certain Brazilian states should abandon their “scorched earth” policy of prohibiting public transport, closing business and schools, and calling for mass confinement at home for their residents.
“What is happening around the world has shown that the at-risk group are those over 60 years old. So why close schools? … Ninety per cent of us will show no sign [of infection] if we are infected.”
There was growing speculation on Tuesday that Bolsonaro himself may have been infected with coronavirus amid reports that a military hospital where Brazil’s president had been tested had withheld two names from a list of positive cases for reasons of “secrecy”.
This isn’t the first crisis Bolsonaro has tried to play off as just some trite nonsense created by the lying media; he infamously lied that massive wildfires in the Amazon rainforest last year were actually the result of environmentalist groups committing arsons. But this one is progressing even faster than the wildfire debacle.