Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has condemned the fresh wave of lockdown measures employed by countries around the world to combat surging cases of Covid-19, blasting them as “crazy.”
Bolsonaro, a prominent coronavirus skeptic who has repeatedly argued that the economic impact of anti-Covid-19 measures outweighs the dangers of the virus itself, launched a new attack on the restrictions late on Thursday.
The measures many countries across the world have taken in wake of the second wave of the pandemic are nothing but “crazy,” the president said, as he refused to fund clinical trials of a Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine in Sao Paulo state.
“Dear Sao Paulo Governor [Joao Doria], I know you’re passionate. You know this but no one is going to take a forced vaccine, it would be difficult,” Bolsonaro said, adding that he was “not going to buy your vaccine.”
Earlier this month, Joao Doria, the governor of the most populous Brazilian state and a Bolsonaro opponent, promised that the Covid-19 vaccination would be compulsory for its residents. Bolsonaro said at the time that the Health Ministry would provide vaccination “without making it mandatory,” arguing that by law it was up to the federal government to decide whether to make the vaccination compulsory or not.
Over the course of the pandemic, the Brazilian president has repeatedly had run-ins with the country’s health and state authorities as he advocates for a laissez-faire approach to the crisis. Bolsonaro’s critics, however, accuse him of downplaying the extent of the pandemic.
Bolsonaro himself has contracted Covid-19 and he successfully recovered from the disease back in July. The president has publicly defied anti-coronavirus rules, appearing in public without a face mask and socializing with his supporters without any social distancing.
Brazil is the third worst affected nation in the world – after the US and India – with nearly 5.5 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and almost 160,000 deaths.
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