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Brazil’s Bolsonaro denounces mayors over virus lockdowns

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Brazil's Bolsonaro denounces mayors over virus lockdowns

Rio de Janeiro’s health surveillance members in protective gear check the body temperatures of flight attendants arriving in Galeao International Airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [File: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters] President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday blasted as criminals the governors and mayors of Brazil ‘s largest states and cities for imposing lockdowns to slow the coronavirus outbreak , drawing fierce backlash as the death toll in the country rose to 57.

Bolsonaro has aligned himself with United States President Donald Trump in prioritising the economy over the shutdowns favoured by public health experts, who have warned the outbreak in Brazil could trigger a collapse of the healthcare system next month.

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Latin America’s largest nation reported 2,433 confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, up from 2,201 the day before.

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"Other viruses have killed many more than this one, and there wasn’t all this commotion," Bolsonaro told journalists outside his official residence. "What a few mayors and governors are doing is a crime. They’re destroying Brazil."

"If we don’t get back to work, Brazil could depart from democratic normalcy," he added, citing recent examples of social unrest in Latin America.

As his boss downplayed the virus, national security adviser Augusto Heleno on Wednesday, ignored medical advice to self-isolate for two weeks, instead returning to work just seven days into his quarantine after a positive coronavirus test. Heleno also attended cabinet meetings on the day he was waiting for the test result, Reuters learned.In throwing his weight against the shutdowns taking effect in Brazil’s biggest cities and states, Bolsonaro has cast himself against local officials, congressional leadership and even the advice of his own Ministry of Health.In a widely […]

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