Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro insisted on Monday that the government-mandated lockdowns “makes the poor poorer” and also push people to kill, as it leads many people “to depression and suicide”.
At a public event on education issues, the president responded forcefully to the harsh criticism against his government’s management of the pandemic.
“Some important sectors of society want a national or regional ‘lockdown’ decree”, but this “has not worked”, “they make poor people poorer” and “lead many to depression or suicide”, said the President.
“We do not know when this is going to end, if it ends” and “if it were proven that a 30-day ‘lockdown’ ends the virus I accept”, but “that is not so”, he declared.
Although he said he did not intend to send “any message to anyone,” he cited a series of data reflecting a positive reaction of the economy after the 4.1% drop in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year as a result of the pandemic, which was “half of what many expected,” he said.
“If it weren’t for the pandemic our economy would be flying,” said Bolsonaro, who stressed that “only the United States, Japan and South Korea” had better economic results than Brazil in 2020.
“These are data for people who work with economy in Brazil,” he indicated in what was interpreted as a response to a letter circulated this weekend by some 500 bankers and economists who criticized Bolsonaro.
“They don’t let people work,” he maintained in a new criticism of the lockdowns decreed by governors and mayors in recent weeks, against which the government has filed a lawsuit before Brazil’s Supreme Court.
“I never saw that. Not even in the communist world, because their people are forced to work in any situation,” he said about the suspension of economic activities to contain the pandemic, adopted by many states and municipalities.
In relation to the COVID vaccines, he insisted that Brazil is “the fifth country that vaccinates the most in absolute values”, with twelve million Brazilians who have received the antidote.
Even so, he reiterated that the vaccination process in the country is “something exceptional within the problems that exist in the world”, he reiterated that his government has “contracted 500 million doses” that it will receive throughout this year and that local production will begin shortly.
“Brazil will manufacture vaccines and will export them”, he predicted.