Bolsonaro urges Brazilians to get back to work, says concern over coronavirus overblown

Reading Time: 1 minute

As Brazil’s largest city went into lockdown, President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday took aim at the “hysteria” over the coronavirus and urged that life must continue and jobs be preserved.

In an address to the nation, Bolsonaro urged mayors and state governors to roll back lockdown measures that have brought Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo to near standstills.

Bolsonaro has faced increasing criticism for his cavalier attitude toward the virus, which he has dismissed as a “fantasy” and a “small flu” despite its infecting over 300,000 people worldwide and killing tens of thousands.

 

During his address Tuesday night, people banged pots and pans in a traditional form of protest in Sao Paulo and Brasilia. Opinion polls have shown Bolsonaro’s popularity slipping.

 

He said the terrible situation in Italy would not be repeated in Brazil because of the Latin American country’s younger population and warmer climate.

Coronavirus deaths in Brazil on Tuesday rose to 46 from 34, and the number of cases rose to 2,201 from 1,891, according to government figures. Wanderson de Oliveira, a Health Ministry official, told reporters Brazil would vastly expand testing in the coming days.

Economic prospects for Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, are worsening amid the pandemic. Data showed consumer confidence fell to a three-year low in March, and retail sales in January declined at the fastest rate in over a year, indicating consumer spending was off to a weak start in 2020, even before the coronavirus outbreak.

Read more via France 24

Once you're here...