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Bolsonaro balks against more coronavirus protections as cases in Brazil near 5,000

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Brazil’s president has continued to refuse to extend his country’s protections against the novel coronavirus, claiming additional quarantine measures would destroy more jobs and impact the poor disproportionately.

Speaking to Rede TV on Monday, President Jair Bolsonaro criticized self-isolation and other measures imposed by local authorities to limit the spread of COVID-19, despite the number of reported cases in Brazil surpassing 4,600.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro puts on a mask during a press conference on the new coronavirus at the Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, March 18, 2019.  (AP)

“You can’t impose any more quarantine than there already is,” he said, branding governors in the hardest-hit regions as “job-killers” and suggesting that democracy could be at risk if the coronavirus leads to social chaos.

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“When the situation is heading toward chaos, with mass unemployment and hunger, it’s fertile ground for some to exploit, seeking a way to reach power and never leave it,” he told reports outside the presidential palace on Monday, according to Reuters.

On Tuesday, the far-right populist leader continued to minimize the pandemic that has killed more than 39,000 people worldwide. At least 167 people in Brazil have died.

“Those who are under 40 years of age have almost zero chance of death,” he claimed, according to Reuters. “So there’s no reason not to let these people work. After all, if the virus kills in some cases, hunger also kills.”

A woman walks in the streets of the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro during the quarantine against the new coronavirus.  (Sipa via AP)

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Bolsonaro’s most recent remarks surrounding the outbreak come just days after Twitter and Facebook removed a video of him speaking to street vendors in Brasilia. The companies claim the video violated their standards of misinformation, the Sky News reported.

Bolsonaro claims his response to the disease matches that of U.S. President Donald Trump, however, the Brazilian leader has gone further, labeling it as “a little flu” and saying aggressive measures to halt the disease were crimes.

The governors of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the states hardest hit by the virus, have banned public gatherings, closed schools, and businesses and called for strict social distancing. Both are Bolsonaro critics and possible contenders in the 2022 presidential race.

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The 65-year-old, whose aide tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, shows no signs of wavering on his stance, despite polls showing his popularity is falling due to his handling of the outbreak.

Pollster Datafolha this month found 73 percent of people supported total isolation, and 54 percent approved of governors’ management of the crisis. Bolsonaro’s backing was just 33 percent.

Most nights, Brazilians cooped up in their apartments have taken to banging pots and pans in protest, often screaming “Bolsonaro out!” Reuters reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

SOURCE : https://www.foxnews.com/world/brazil-jair-bolsonaro-coronavirus-protections

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