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Brazil's President Defies Social Distancing Norms Yet Again At Anti-lockdown Protests

Having lost two health ministers in a month, Bolsonaro’s latest “casual” approach comes as Brazil surpasses the UK and Italy with over 255,368 coronavirus cases

Brazil

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro was seen flouting the social distancing norms as he posed for photographs with children plucked out of a crowd of demonstrators who stood against the COVID-19 lockdown as of May 18. Not just that, Bolsonaro endorsed the demonstrations calling them a pure manifestation of democracy, according to reports. Brazil’s president was witnessed, once again, disregarding the health safety measures which have proved to be effective in the containment of the novel coronavirus worldwide.  

Having lost two health ministers in a month, Bolsonaro’s latest “casual” approach comes as Brazil surpasses the UK and Italy with over 255,368 people infected with the disease. While still resisting the quarantines and isolation, Brazil has turned to the world’s fourth most impacted country from the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the latest tally. Health Ministry’s figures released as of May 18 showed that at least 7,938 plus new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, surging the overall total while the fatalities jumped to 16,853 with over 485 deaths reported per day. 

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Lockdown boycott a "democracy"

In a video released online, Bolsonaro was heard saying that he “welcomed the demonstration at the presidential palace” in what has become a nearly biweekly affair. Not just that, the president along with the supporters defied health safety protocols. “Above all (the people) want freedom, they want democracy, they want respect,” he said in the video, adding, that the Brazilian needed to resume as soon as possible to stem the unemployment.  

In one such protest held May 17, Sunday, outside the presidential palace, Bolsonaro’s supporters chanted “Chlo-ro-quine! Chlo-ro-quine!” and the people want to work slogans, as per local media reports. Further, calling for the government to felicitate the use of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, the demonstrators gathered in large numbers in a carnival-like atmosphere letting off fireworks and banging drums not adhering to 2 meters apart protocol. 

Meanwhile, in more recent demonstrations, Bolsonaro was seen mingling with the crowd, taking photographs, according to media reports. This comes amid concerns that Brazil lacked adequate nationwide testing and processed some 338,000 novel coronavirus tests in official labs. At least 145,000 tests were still pending, according to media reports. 

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(image Credit: AP)

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