Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro once again blasted the global “hysteria” over the Chinese coronavirus in a public address Tuesday, urging his people to get back to normal life and work as soon as they possibly can.
In an address to the nation, Bolsonaro called on local authorities such as mayors and state governors to start rolling back lockdown measures that have shut down schools and brought many of the country’s big cities to complete standstill.
“Our lives have to go on. Jobs must be kept … we must, yes, get back to normal,” Bolsonaro said. “A small number of state and municipal authorities must abandon their scorched-earth ideas: the banning of public transport, the closing of commerce, and mass confinement.”
“What is happening around the world has shown that the at-risk group are those aged 60 or over. So why close schools?” he continued. “90 percent of us will show no symptoms if we are infected.”
Unable to take to the streets due to lockdown, opponents of Bolsonaro vented their fury at what they claimed was a cavalier attitude towards the virus by banging pots and pans from their balconies.
Citing his history as an athlete, the former army captain also insisted that he would “feel nothing” if he were infected with the coronavirus.
“In my particular case, with my history as an athlete, if I were infected with the virus, I would have no reason to worry, I would feel nothing, or it would be at most just a small flu,” he said.
In a video-conference held on Wednesday morning between the president and state officials, Bolsonaro clashed with São Paulo governor João Doria, who has enforced a 15-day quarantine period affecting about 46 million in the country’s most populous and important financial state.
In the exchange, Doria pledged to pursue “legal action” if necessary.