Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he did not want to be “bored” with questions about the country’s Covid death toll, days after it crossed the grim milestone of 600,000.
When a journalist at a beach in the state of Sao Paulo asked Mr Bolsonaro a question about the South American country’s death toll on Monday, he said: “In which country did people not die? Tell me!”
The president then added: “Look, I did not come here to be bored.”
More than 21.5 million have been infected and a total of 606,011 people have died in Brazil since the beginning of the pandemic as the country also battles inflation and a weak economy.
In the last 24 hours, Brazil recorded 6,918 new cases of coronavirus and 202 deaths, its health ministry said on Monday.
The coronavirus crisis is said to have been handled poorly in Brazil under Mr Bolsonaro. During the initial days, he refused to recognise the spread of the virus and the severity of the contagion. He later refused to follow Covid-19 safety protocols like masks and physical distancing.
Mr Bolsonaro has repeatedly said he does not intend to take the Covid-19 vaccine, claiming that the coronavirus infection he contracted last year has given him antibodies. Scientists, however, refute claims that antibodies have any long-term role in preventing Covid.
“I’m not going to take the vaccine, period,” he said in a television interview in December last year. “You think my life is at risk? That’s my problem, period.” He also said last year that he will be the “last Brazilian” to get vaccinated and will not force anyone to get inoculated.
He has not yet been vaccinated. In fact, over the weekend, Mr Bolsonaro was denied entry to a football match as unvaccinated supporters were barred from entering the stadium.
While the president continues to rail against lockdowns and propagates unproven cures, his ratings and poll numbers have taken a hit.
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