Jair Bolsonaro is encouraging Brazil to lift absolute quarantine restrictions by leaving only the elderly and those with underlying health conditions at home. Members of the medical community had already been discussing the policy behind the scenes but only with specific measures in place.
The President said that younger people, including children, should go back to work, go to school, and that isolation should be restricted to the vulnerable.
Professionals at the forefront of coping with the epidemic say it would be catastrophic now, as the country prepares for peak cases. But it is a possibility to be discussed later, provided that some measures are adopted earlier.
The Brazilian Association of Intensive Care Medicine (Amib), for example, condemned the President's speech and stated that, with cases on the rise and the system getting ready, isolation is the "unambiguous recommendation" at the moment.
"It is unquestionable that a measure is necessary to prevent the total collapse of the economy, and these measures must responsibly take place," said Amib in a note. The entity added that it would support government actions to release "at the right time".
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon