Bolsonaro Says He Did 'The Possible and The Impossible' to Prevent Deaths by Covid-19

By signing a measure that frees funds for the purchase of an Oxford vaccine, the president returned to defend chloroquine and criticized former minister Mandetta


Brazil is on the cusp of 100,000 coronavirus deaths, but President Jair Bolsonaro (without a party) insisted on Thursday that he has a clear conscience and has done "the possible and the impossible" to save lives.

Bolsonaro signed a provisional measure to pay R $ 1.9 billion to purchase the vaccine against the coronavirus that is being tested by the laboratory AstraZeneca and by the University of Oxford. Yet, he still defended hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has no scientifically proven effectiveness against Covid -19.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during the signing ceremony of the "Mais Luz para Amazonia" program at the Ministry of Energy in Brasilia, Brazil August 5, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado - REUTERS

"We have a clear conscience. At that time, there was no vaccine, there was no medicine, only the promise, at the first moment, of hydroxychloroquine, then other things appeared," said the President at Palácio do Planalto, in a ceremony closed to the press, but broadcast on public TV.

"Together with the means we have, we can really say that we have done as much as possible and the impossible to save lives, unlike those who insist on remaining in the opposition since 2018," said the President.

Early in the pandemic, Bolsonaro determined that Army laboratories would produce the drug, even without scientific evidence.

At the time, the Minister of Health was Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who publicly resisted Bolsonaro's desire for chloroquine to be used in the initial stage of the disease.

Later, in a social media live alongside the interim Minister of Health, General Eduardo Pazuello, Bolsonaro said that it is necessary to "touch life" and advised that a way be found to "get away" from the disease.

"We regret all the deaths. It is already reaching the number of 100 thousand, perhaps today ... [Pazuello says that it will be this week]. We will touch life. Touch life and find a way to get away from this problem," said the President of the Republic.

On Thursday, Brazil recorded 1,226 new deaths from the disease, reaching 98,644 deaths, according to data from the consortium of press outlets, of which Folha is part.

According to the data collected until 8 pm, the average number of deaths in the last seven days is 1,038.

In almost an hour of transmission, Bolsonaro returned to defend the use of hydroxychloroquine. The chief executive had a box of medicine on the table.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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