Pressed in particular by a public health institute to confine the country in order to cope with an outbreak of deaths linked to Covid-19, the Brazilian head of state insisted that alternatives had to be found.
“There will be no national containment”: this is what Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro promised on April 7, sweeping the recommendations, among others, of the public health institute Fiocruz. The Head of State declared that it was necessary “to find alternatives”: “We are not going to accept a policy which amounts to saying that it is necessary to stay at home, to close everything, to impose the confinement”, he said. he hammered, according to comments quoted by AFP.
These declarations are part of a difficult health context for the largest country in South America: it has recorded 336,947 deaths since the start of the pandemic, including more than 15,000 in the first six days of April. and over 66,000 in March – a monthly record. Faced with this outbreak, the Fiocruz institute said in a report published on the evening of April 6 that confinement was “absolutely necessary” to cope with the saturation of hospitals, which it said are in a “critical” situation in 24 of the 27 federated states of the country.
Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-containment speech is nothing new: since the start of the health crisis, the president has been attacking restrictive anti-Covid measures, in the name of saving the economy and jobs. Among other examples, during a speech focused on tourism last November, the Head of State had launched: “Today, there is only for the pandemic, we must put an end to that. I regret the dead, I regret them. We are all going to die one day, everyone here is going to die. It’s no use running away from that, running away from reality. […] We have to fight with our heads held high, to fight. ”
While it has not instituted a national curfew, Brazilian states and municipalities have the option of imposing their own restrictive measures. According to AFP, in practice at the local level, only certain activities considered non-essential have been closed, apart from real lockdowns in a few cities in the southern state of Sao Paulo.