Bolsonaro defends move to open businesses

(190122) — DAVOS (SWITZERLAND), Jan. 22, 2019 (Xinhua) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro delivers a speech at a plenary session of the 49th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 22, 2019. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

Brasilia, April 3 (IANS) Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro criticized the self-isolation measures to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, while defending the move to open businesses and rebuking the country’s Health Minister saying he lacked humility to manage the crisis.

In an interview to Joven Pan radio, Bolsonaro on Thursday criticized Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who had spoken in favour of social distancing as a step to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, reports Efe news.

Bolsonaro said Mandetta lacked humility to, “to lead Brazil in this difficult time”.

“Mandetta knows that we have differed for some time, but I don’t intend to sack him in the middle of the fight,” said Bolsonaro, who until recently disregarded the infection as slight fever and cold.

The President further added that Mandetta wanted to do a lot for the cause and said: “I wish him luck and I hope that he would continue his work with a little more humility.”

He further added that none of his ministers were indispensable and could be sacked at any moment.

Bolsonaro once again termed the isolation measures adopted by the majority of the 27 Brazilian states to contain the virus outbreak as “an exaggeration”.

The measures include closing down businesses, bars and churches along with the suspension of classes.

Bolsonaro also urged Brazilians to return to work and defended the opening of businesses in the cities Monday onward.

The President further added that he had a draft legislative decree ready to be signed if needed, bearing in mind all essential and indispensable activities, and further urged the Governors to revise their stance.

“We have to get ready to return to work, because sooner or later this will happen. Whether by the Governors’ decision or by that of the President.

“We have to fight the virus, yes, but we cannot let the jobs get destroyed,” he said and added that all those below 40 should get back to work.

So far, Brazil has reported 327 deaths and 8,066 COVID-19 cases, revealing an exponential rise in both figures.

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