Amid increasing pressure for his handling of the Coronavirus outbreak, Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro will sign a $10.72 billion Coronavirus package for the states and cities. However, defending a plan for public servants, in return for signing the package, the President has asked the governors to back the freezing of public sector pay increases for two years.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, a bill to distribute federal money to states and municipalities was approved by the Brazilian Congress. But, Bolsonaro has not signed it yet due to the pressure from Economy Minister Paulo Guedes who wants more fiscal austerity. Bolsonaro's relationship with the governors and mayors has turned bitter on account of his long-standing stance that keeping the economy running is more important than COVID concerns, something he has been adamant about, even as Brazil is on its way to becoming a country with one of the highest casualty counts.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Bolsonaro has been pushing the use of antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for treating the novel coronavirus. Earlier, he had mentioned that he has kept a box full of HCQ at his home for his elderly mother, in case of emergency, while noting that US President Donald Trump is also using the medicine with precaution.
The crisis in Brazil has severely worsened with the death toll rising over 20,000. According to the most recent COVID-19 data, Brazil has recorded a total of 310,921 cases of Coronavirus making it the third-highest country in the list after the USA and Russia. While Brazil has reported 20,082 deaths, 125,960 people have recovered.