Bolsonaro Defends Chloroquine and Resumes Clash with Governors and Mayors in Televised Speech

Brazilians clanged pots and pants during the President's speech on national television

In a televised statement on Wednesday, President Jair Bolsonaro defended the use of chloroquine in coronavirus and said he had always put life first.

Bolsonaro said he respects the autonomy of governors, but stressed that he was not consulted on social isolation measures that closed shops and restricted the circulation of people.

"I respect the autonomy of governors and mayors. Many isolation measures are their sole responsibility. The federal government has not been consulted on its breadth," the president said.

"We live in a unique moment in our history. To be president is to look at the whole and not just the parts. Our main objective has always been to save lives," he said.

President Jair Bolsonaro, during televised speech Foto: Carolina Antunes/PR

This is Bolsonaro's fifth speech on COVID-19, the fourth since WHO (World Health Organization) declared the new coronavirus pandemic.

The statement comes after recent tensions, especially between Bolsonaro and Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who even emptied his desk after the president threatened to fire his popular ministers.

Bolsonaro repeated several times to colleagues and in meetings at the Planalto Palace that he could change the minister of health in the middle of the pandemic. But he ended up not making the change at a time when he found himself isolated.

For the first time since the pandemic began, Bolsonaro sympathized with the families of those killed by the disease.

In this Wednesday's speech, the president repeated the statement of WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and said that "each country has its particularities, the solution is not the same for everyone."

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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