Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced gyms and salons as essential services, further expanding the list of businesses allowed during the pandemic. Bolsonaro has been maintaining his controversial stance of reopening the businesses to keep the economy running, even as the Latin American country continues to witness a surge in the number of coronavirus cases and related death toll.
Brazil has reported nearly 170,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and over 11,600 deaths so far and is closing in on Germany and France on the COVID-19 cases. Despite the continuous surge, Bolsonaro has been adamant about opening the businesses and has claimed that the local governments have gone overboard in physical distancing measures to contain the virus spread.
In an apparent comparison of life and employment, the Brazilian President told the reporters that the “question of life” has to be taken in “parallel” with jobs. He said that there is no life, no doctors, and no medical supplies without the economy. However, Health Minister Nelson Teich told a news conference that the ministry was oblivious of Bolsonaro’s decision regarding gyms and beauty salons.
A leading medical journal, The Lancet, recently said in its editorial that Bolsonaro perhaps remains the biggest threat to the country’s coronavirus response. The journal highlighted Bolsonaro’s blatant disregard for sensible measures of physical distancing and lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
The journal said that the Brazilian President is sowing confusion among people by openly flouting COVID-19 measures announced by state governors and city mayors. It added that the disarray at the heart of the administration due to the sacking of health minister and the resignation of Justice Minister is a “deadly distraction” in the middle of a health emergency.
“Brazil as a country must come together to give a clear answer to the ‘So what?’ by its President. He needs to drastically change course or must be the next to go,” The Lancet said.
(Image Credit: AP)