Bolsonaro Says Brazil's Mission Is to Save Lives without Losing Jobs in Televised Public Address

President distorted statement by WHO Director-General, who advocates social isolation in fighting coronavirus

BrasĂ­lia

In a televised statement, President Jair Bolsonaro once again misconstrued the recommendations of the World Health Organization director-general to support his own stance on the novel Coronavirus—saving lives while saving jobs. The politically isolated President also changed his tone toward Congress and governors.

"We have a mission: to save lives without leaving jobs behind. On the one hand, we have to be cautious and cautious with everyone, especially with the elderly and those with pre-existing diseases. On the other, we have to combat unemployment, which is growing rapidly, especially among the poorest. We are going to fulfill this mission, at the same time that we take care of people's health ", said Bolsonaro in a speech on national radio and TV on Tuesday night (31).

(Brasília - DF, 31/03/2020) President Jair Bolsonaro, during the televised statement Foto: Reprodução tvglobo

However, Bolsonaro took Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu's speech out of context. Tedros' full sentence is: "Every individual is important, every individual is affected by our actions. Any country can have workers who need to work to get their daily bread. This needs to be taken into account."

Bolsonaro said that "we must avoid any loss of human life as much as possible," but noted that "at the same time, we must avoid the destruction of jobs, which is already causing a lot of suffering for Brazilian workers."

In his speech, Bolsonaro changed the tone he previously had toward coronavirus, a pandemic to which he has already referred to as "a little flu."

This Tuesday, he said that "we are facing the greatest challenge of our generation."

The President, who has already defended the use of hydroxychloroquine to fight COVID-19, including appearing with boxes of the drug in hand, admitted that "there is still no vaccine against it or medicine with scientifically proven efficiency."

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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