Brasilia, April 30 (IANS) As the coronavirus pandemic has worsened in Brazil with the total of cases increasing to 79,685 with 5,513 deaths, President Jair Bolsonaro has blamed the state governors for the situation.
On Wednesday, the Health Ministry warned that the virus was relentlessly advancing in the country, but the President insisted on underestimating the severity of the epidemic, the peak of which is expected to arrive between May and June, reports Efe news.
Addressing the media outside the Palacio de la Alvorada, Bolsonaro’s official residence in Brasilia, he said that “the invoice” of the deceased has to be sent to governors and mayors, who have been the main advocates of adopting isolation measures against COVID-19.
“They have to answer,” he said, adding they could not make him shoulder the responsibility.
When asked what his responsibility would be in the crisis, the head of state replied: “The question is so idiotic that I am not going to answer you.”
Bolsonaro, who has invited Brazilians to return to work, also generated controversy on Tuesday by insinuating that he could not do anything in the face of the increase in victims because, according to him, the Constitution does not allow it.
“So what? I’m sorry, but what do you want me to do?” he said, and added he could not “work miracles”.
Bolsonaro, who has classified the quarantine measures as a “crime”, on Wednesday decreed to expand the list of essential activities, which included tire shops or road hotels, although he said that the direction to allow the operation of these businesses is up to states and municipalities.
Since the beginning of the crisis, Governors and Mayors have largely ignored Bolsonaro and followed the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.
The President’s anger has focused mainly on Sao Paulo governor Joao Doria, and Rio de Janeiro governor Wilson Witzel, who are at the forefront of the regions hardest hit by the coronavirus and have decreed “soft” quarantines in their territories.
Doria responded to Bolsonaro on Wednesday, inviting him to get out of the “bubble” of Brasilia and “his world of hate,” and visit some hospitals to see the “dying people”.
“You said that Brazil is experiencing a ‘flu’, and now? With more than 5,000 deaths, do you continue to say that the country is experiencing a pandemic of a little ‘cold’?” Doria asked the far-right leader whom he supported in the 2018 electoral campaign.
According to the estimates of the government of Sao Paulo, the death toll from coronavirus, which is now 2,247, would have been 10 times higher in the region without isolation measures.
Health Minister Nelson Teich, who replaced Luiz Henrique Mandetta, a supporter of social distancing and fired by Bolsonaro, acknowledged two weeks ago that the curve is growing.
Brazil registered the first death due to coronavirus on March 17 and reached 1,000 deaths after 24 days.