Brazilians must stop being “a country of sissies” about the coronavirus outbreak, the country’s far-right president has said.
“All of us are going to die one day. Everyone is going to die. There is no point in escaping from that, in escaping from reality," Jair Bolsonaro told a press conference on Tuesday.
“We have to stop being a country of sissies,” he added, using the Portuguese word “maricas," a slur against gay people.
Brazil is suffering one of the world’s worst Covid-19 outbreaks, with over 5.7 million confirmed cases and 163,000 virus-related deaths.
Mr Bolsonaro was celebrating the suspension of late-stage clinical trials of China’s Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine, which he has dismissed without evidence as lacking in credibility.
On Wednesday, Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa allowed resumption of the trials, which had been suspended due to the death of a study subject that was registered in Sao Paulo as a suicide.
Anvisa said the initial information it received about the case, which led to the suspension, had been incomplete and lacked the cause of the “severe adverse event”.
"After evaluating the new data presented by the sponsor ... Anvisa understands that it has sufficient reasons to allow the resumption of vaccination," the agency said.
“It is important to clarify that a suspension does not necessarily mean that the product under investigation does not offer quality, safety or efficacy."
In a statement, Sinovac said: "We are confident in the safety of the vaccine, fully understand and appreciate Anvisa's strict supervision and timely resumption of the clinical studies."
Mr Bolsonaro is yet to comment on Anvisa’s decision to restart the trial.
Additional reporting by Reuters
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies