Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday he tested positive for the novel coronavirus after months minimizing the severity of the pandemic and defying medical experts, even as the virus has killed more than 66,000 people in his country. The right-wing populist gave the news to reporters at his official residence standing just inches away from him, adding to criticism of his cavalier approach to the outbreak in Brazil.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has been tested for the coronavirus, having reportedly shown symptoms, following months of downplaying the severity of the disease despite the country’s skyrocketing death toll. CNN Brasil reported Monday that the president personally told its reporters he was suffering from symptoms of the coronavirus, including a fever. Brazil has recorded more than 1.6 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
Brazil restored on Tuesday detailed COVID-19 data to the official national website, following a scandal about the removal of cumulative totals and a ruling by a Supreme Court justice that the full set of information be reinstated. The detailed information, with cumulative totals and breakdowns by state, was restored to the website https://covid.saude.gov.br, Reuters confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.
The Brazilian government has been accused of totalitarianism and censorship after it stopped releasing its total numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths and wiped an official site clean of swaths of data. Health ministry insiders told local media the move was ordered by far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, himself – and was met with widespread outrage in Brazil, one of the world’s worst-hit Covid-19 hotspots.
The United States has supplied Brazil with 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine for use against the coronavirus, the two governments said on Sunday, despite medical warnings about risks associated with the anti-malaria drug. The White House released a joint announcement on the drug, whose use has been touted both by U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Brazil daily coronavirus deaths were higher than fatalities in the United States for the first time over the last 24 hours, according to the country’s Health Ministry. Brazil registered 807 deaths over the last 24 hours, whereas 620 died in the United States. Brazil has the second worst outbreak in the world, with 374,898 cases, behind the U.S with 1.637 million cases.
President Donald Trump on Sunday further limited travel from the world’s coronavirus hotspots by denying entry to foreigners coming from Brazil, which is second to the U.S. in the number of confirmed cases. Trump had already banned certain travelers from China, Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland and, to a lesser extent, Iran. He has not moved to ban travel from Russia, which has the world’s third-highest caseload.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Brazil have surpassed the total in Italy and are surging in Mexico and Peru as Latin America struggles to contain its fast-growing coronavirus outbreak. Brazil announced nearly 15,000 new infections on Saturday, taking its total to more than 230,000, the fourth-largest confirmed caseload after the US, Russia and the UK. Its true number of infections is feared to be much greater.
Brazil has recorded its deadliest day yet from the coronavirus with 881 confirmed deaths in 24 hours and confirmed cases exceeding Germany’s, as President Jair Bolsonaro fought states over his push to ease lockdown restrictions. Brazil’s health ministry confirmed at least 12,400 deaths from the virus as of Tuesday. The right-wing president has argued that the economic damage from closing businesses is worse than the disease.
Brazil deployed thousands of soldiers to protect the Amazon rainforest on Monday, taking precautions to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus, as the government mounts an early response to surging deforestation ahead of the high season for forest fires. Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon surged 55% in the first four months of the year compared with the same period of 2019, according to government data released on Friday.