Brazil fights dual battle with COVID-19 outbreak and President Bolsonaro’s cynicism

When the countries across the world are taking precautionary measures in their fight against Coronavirus, Brazil is running its own battle amid the pandemic. The first country in Latin America to report a Coronavirus case, Brazil has now become the epicentre of COVID-19 cases in the region. Even as the number of infected cases continues to rise, Brazilians President Jair Bolsonaro has been downplaying the ramifications of the disease.

Amid the surge in infected cases, the country’s already weak public health system is struggling to treat the patients. Earlier, Bolsonaro dismissed the lethal virus as a “little flu”, even as Brazil’s health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta has warned that the public health system of the country is heading towards collapse by the end of April due to the plague.
On one hand, Brazil’s medical professionals are fighting the battle against Coronavirus at the forefront, on the other hand, the country’s top leadership under Bolsonaro are undermining the directives on quarantining and social distancing for the safety of the people.

Speaking to media, a number of medical practitioners have expressed disappointments with their President’s behavior over the health crisis. One of the health professionals also pointed out that a lot of Brazilians are not adhering to social distancing norms because the President himself continues to undermine them. Doctors have started using social media to spread awareness about the need for isolation and quarantine to tackle the virus.

As per reports, Bolsonaro has even threatened to oust Mandetta for questioning the lack of steps taken by the federal government. Taking matters in their own hands, some state governments banned public events and ordered the shutdown of non-essential businesses to contain the virus from spreading. However, the local governors and mayors faced Bolsonaro’s criticism over the implementation of restrictive measures to stem the spread of the virus, saying that the federal government was not consulted over the measures.

On April 8, Brazil’s Supreme Court slammed the federal government for disrespecting the decisions taken by local authorities to combat the virus and ruled that it cannot revoke the measures. Brazilian lawmakers, reportedly, have been calling for Bolsonaro’s impeachment amid the crisis.

While several states have been in lockdown for almost a month now, Bolsonaro has been insistent on calling of the lockdown and getting the citizens back to work, reopening schools and businesses. Keeping the infighting in federal government aside, Brazil is proving to be a success story with citizens diligently following social isolation measures.
Meanwhile, the number of Coronavirus positive cases in Brazil has crossed 18,000 on April 10 with over 900 reported deaths.

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