Brazilian leader Bolsonaro slams COVID-19 'demagogues'

Brazilians to face evil greater than coronavirus if economy does not move, defends popular president

Vakkas Dogantekin   | 26.03.2020
Brazilian leader Bolsonaro slams COVID-19 'demagogues'


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Thursday slammed fear mongering efforts in his country amid coronavirus outbreak.

"It is easier to do demagogy in front of a frightened population, than to speak the truth," Bolsonaro said in one of his early Thursday series of tweets.

He said speaking the truth might cost him dearly but he does not mind because Brazilians would face an "evil greater than the virus" itself, alluding to unemployment and other economic difficulties if things do not move.

"This costs popularity. I'm not worried about that! Taking advantage of people's fear to do politics at a time like this is COVARD's thing!" he said, trying to link words coward and COVID-19.

"Demagogy accelerates chaos," Bolsonaro said, speaking in a similar tone as U.S. President Donald Trump, who also wants to get back to business as early as Easter, without surrendering to coronavirus fears.

Brazil, with a population of 210 million, currently has more than 2,554 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 59 deaths, according to the U.S.-based John Hopkins University data.

The South American nation declared a state of emergency on Friday and its largest city Sao Paolo went into a lock-down Tuesday for two weeks.

Bolsonaro's track record of fight against the disease has been heavily criticized when he claimed that the disease is just "a fantasy" and "a little flu". He has been accusing the media and political opponents of fueling "hysteria" by reporting on the death toll in Italy. He attended a number of pro-government street demonstrations and encouraged religious leaders who rejected the call to close down churches in response to the pandemic.

Trump late Wednesday night tweeted and also slammed those who want to stop life in the U.S. until the virus fears are over.

"The LameStream Media is the dominant force in trying to get me to keep our Country closed as long as possible in the hope that it will be detrimental to my election success. The real people want to get back to work ASAP," he said, this time calling the mainstream media lame, instead of fake.

The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 175 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 472,000, while the death toll is more than 21,300, and over 114,800 have recovered, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Despite the rising number of cases, most who become infected suffer only mild symptoms and recover.

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