Bangkok Post

Bolsonaro questions coronaviru­s deaths, says ‘sorry, some will die’

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>>BRASILIA: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday cast doubt on Sao Paulo’s death toll from the coronaviru­s outbreak and accused the state governor of manipulati­ng the numbers for political ends, without giving evidence for his claims.

Mr Bolsonaro’s accusation­s were the latest broadside in an ugly battle with Brazil’s governors, who have chafed at the president’s view that protecting the economy takes priority over social distancing measures to combat the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Following the advice of public health experts, the vast majority of the country’s 26 governors have banned non-essential commercial activities and public services to contain the outbreak in their states.

“I’m sorry, some people will die, they will die, that’s life,” Mr Bolsonaro said in a television interview on Friday night. “You can’t stop a car factory because of traffic deaths.”

Mr Bolsonaro said that in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s economic powerhouse, the death toll seemed “too large”. Sao Paulo has the most cases and deaths so far of coronaviru­s in Brazil, at 1,223 cases and 68 deaths.

“We need to look at what is happening there, this cannot be a numbers game to favour political interests,” Mr Bolsonaro said.

Earlier on Friday, Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, a former Bolsonaro ally who many expect to be a rival in the 2022 presidenti­al election, accused Mr Bolsonaro of promoting “disinforma­tion” by launching a TV ad campaign criticisin­g the restrictio­ns, featuring the slogan “#BrazilCann­otStop”.

The slogan is similar to a campaign in Milan before deaths in Italy soared.

Brazil’s justice ministry on Friday barred all non-resident foreigners from entering the country via its airports. The travel ban goes into effect tomorrow and follows similar measures in several other South American nations.

 ??  ?? COVERED UP: Doctors Angel Bipendu, 46, and Simone Patane, 31, put on their protective gear before visiting a patient in Italy with Covid-19 symptoms.
COVERED UP: Doctors Angel Bipendu, 46, and Simone Patane, 31, put on their protective gear before visiting a patient in Italy with Covid-19 symptoms.
 ??  ?? SAFETY FIRST: Brazilian soldiers disinfect a train in Rio de Janeiro.
SAFETY FIRST: Brazilian soldiers disinfect a train in Rio de Janeiro.

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