How Bolsonaro Is Undermining Measures to Combat Coronavirus

The actions of the president go against the unanimous recommendations of doctors and scholars

São Paulo

President Jair Bolsonaro has never fully supported the coronavirus protection measures. In fact, he has often spoken and acted in confrontation against the policy of self-isolation.

The president has already used the words "hysteria" and "fantasy" to classify the reaction of the population and the media to the new disease and said that if he contracted it, he would suffer only from a little "cold."

In addition to the speeches, the president signed decrees to circumvent state and municipal decisions, made a statement in which he criticized the closure of schools and maintained contact with people on the street.

Let's recall how Bolsonaro undermined the unanimous recommendations from doctors and scholars.

President Jair Bolsonaro (Foto: Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress, PODER) - Folhapress


Bolsonaro participated in pro-government protests on March 15, contradicting what he had said in a speech the previous week. At that time, there were 200 confirmed cases of people with Covid-19 in Brazil and still 1,917 suspects.

There were several older adults at the protest. They are considered to be at risk for the new disease and with a higher mortality rate.


Speaking on March 24, Bolsonaro attacked governors, blamed the press for worsening the health crisis, and criticized the closure of schools.

In his statement, Bolsonaro concluded by saying that if he were infected, he would manage the disease well, due to his "athlete's background."


On March 26, Bolsonaro updated a decree that lists essential activities that cannot be interrupted during efforts to combat the new coronavirus. He added religious activities and lottery houses.


In recent weeks, the president has called on the population to adhere to the so-called "vertical isolation," which would consist of removing from social life only those who are at-risk groups, such as the elderly and people with diseases such as hypertension and uncontrolled diabetes.

In meetings with secretaries, however, those present reported that Bolsonaro promoted the measure as a principle and that no technical study supported the proposal.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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