Updated January 14th, 2022 at 21:20 IST
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro dubs Omircon 'vaccine virus'; asserts it will end COVID-19
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has again downplayed the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and said the latest Omicron variant could be called a "vaccine virus".
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, during an interview, has again downplayed the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and asserted that the latest Omicron variant could be called a 'vaccine virus.' Bolsonaro, during an interview with the Gazeta Brasil website, stated that some 'experts' who are not associated with pharmaceutical companies told him that the new COVID variant is a "welcome variant" as it in fact a "sign to the end of the pandemic". Notably, his statement came at a time when the country is reporting a sudden surge in the fresh cases of Coronavirus-- driven by the newly discovered COVID variant. The country registered more than 70,700 new cases in 24 hours -- nearly eight times more than the cases reported two weeks ago.
Apart from registering the highest COVID-19 cases during the first and second waves of the pandemic, the country recorded more than 6,20,000 cases. Notably, this is the second-highest death toll after the United States. "Omicron has not killed anyone," the President said while speaking about the first death due to the new variant. According to him, the person had serious problems in his lungs and that was the main reason for his death, Bolsonaro informed the Gazeta Brazil news outlet. Further, he reiterated that the country could not afford another lockdown and supported the contentious strategy of permitting people to get infected for so-called herd immunity against the highly infectious to take root. "Herd immunity is a reality. A person inoculated with the virus has a lot more antibodies than an immunised person," he said.
Citing himself, he said, "Me, for example, I am not vaccinated and I am very well."
WHO refutes Jair Bolsonaro's statement on the Omicron variant
Meanwhile, reacting to the statement of the Brazilian President, World Health Organization Emergency Director Mike Ryan, while addressing a press conference in Geneva on Thursday, refuted his claim and added: "less severe as a viral infection in an individual, that doesn't mean it's a mild disease." Narrating the global health situation, the WHO official said lakhs of people are in ICUs and gasping for breath. "Obviously makes very clear that this is not a mild disease," Ryan added.
Further, he explained that the Coronavirus is a viral disease that can be prevented by taking a vaccine. According to him, the COVID vaccine help in preventing the virus from getting deadlier. It is worth mentioning this was not the first time when the Brazilian President downplayed the pandemic and vaccine. Earlier last week, Bolsonaro criticised his nation's Health Regulatory Agency, Anvisa, for approving COVID-19 immunisation for children between five and eleven.
Published January 14th, 2022 at 21:20 IST