Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Tells Country To ‘Stop Whining’ After Record COVID Deaths
President Jair Bolsonaro has told Brazilians to stop ‘fussing and whining’ after the country saw another day of record-high coronavirus deaths.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Brazil has seen the second-highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world, after the US.
This week, Brazil’s daily death toll reached a record high after 1,910 people died on Wednesday, March 3. The figure remained high yesterday, March 4, when 1,699 people died.
There have been more than 260,000 deaths in Brazil so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The spike in cases has been attributed to a new, highly-contagious variant that is believed to have originated in the city of Manaus.
Some Brazilian cities have imposed restrictions, such as restaurants and bars being ordered to close at 5.00pm in Rio De Janeiro, and an 11.00pm curfew.
Speaking at an event yesterday, Bolsonaro told the crowd of Brazilians to ‘stop fussing and whining’.
‘How long are you going to keep crying about it? How much longer will you stay at home and close everything? No one can stand it anymore. We regret the deaths, again, but we need a solution,’ he said.
Brazil’s government has been criticised for being slow to purchase and distribute coronavirus vaccines, with less than 4% of its 211 million population having received their first jab.
Bolsonaro has been accused of playing down the coronavirus outbreak in the country, famously describing it as a ‘little flu’ last year.
Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University, told The Guardian that Brazil’s slow response poses a global threat.
‘The world must vehemently speak out over the risks Brazil is posing to the fight against the pandemic. What’s the point in sorting the pandemic out in Europe or the United States, if Brazil continues to be a breeding ground for this virus?’ he said.
In the UK, a search is currently underway for an individual who has been infected with the Manaus-origin variant.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said the current vaccines in the UK had not yet been tested against this variant, BBC News reports.
‘We’re doing all we can to stop the spread of this new variant in the UK, to analyse its effects, and to develop an updated vaccine that works on all these variants of concern and protect the progress that we’ve made as a nation,’ Hancock told MPs this week.
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