Thursday, November 30, 2023

More protests in Brazil over Bolsonaro’s response to COVID-19 | News on the coronavirus pandemic

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President Jair Bolsonaro faces increased pressure as coronavirus cases and deaths increase across Brazil.

Protesters in Brazil have gathered for the second weekend in a row in several cities to demand the resignation of President Jair Bolsonaro following his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two hundred people demonstrated in Brasilia, the capital, on Sunday, holding up placards and banners bearing the inscriptions “Bolsonaro Out” and “Impeachment Now”, while a procession of cars honked in support. Other protests also took place in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Events, such as the biggest ones that took place last weekend, were organized by leftist parties and groups.

Bolsonaro, a coronavirus skeptic who has downplayed the severity of the virus and the need to enact strict public health rules to prevent its spread, has faced increased pressure in recent weeks on his handling of the pandemic.

Brazil has reported more than 9.1 million cases and nearly 224,000 coronavirus-related deaths, the third and second-highest in the world, respectively, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

A recent surge in cases in Amazonas state, which has pushed hospitals in the capital Manaus to their limits and led to a lack of oxygen supply for COVID-19 patients, has also spurred protests against Bolsonaro.

Doctors have warned The situation in Manaus could spread to other parts of Brazil, as the discovery of a new, potentially more contagious variant of COVID-19 in the country has heightened concerns about the accelerated spread of the virus.

On Sunday, a group of protesters stood outside the National Congress building in Brasilia, carrying plastic bags over their heads to symbolize COVID-19 patients in Amazonas state who died after hospitals ran out of oxygen.

Last week, a judge of the Brazilian Supreme Court approved an investigation into the response of the Minister of Health Eduardo Pazuello to the Manaus crisis.

A protester holds a sign reading ‘Impeachment now, Bolsonaro out’ during a protest in Sao Paulo [Amanda Perobelli/Reuters]

The deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil has also been plagued by problems.

The country at the beginning of the month approved two vaccines – Sinovac Biotech Ltd in China and AstraZeneca in Britain – for emergency use, but delays in shipping vaccine ingredients to Brazil resulted in slow distribution.

The Sao Paulo state government said on Sunday that it expects to receive ingredients from Sinovac Biotech on Wednesday that will allow local production of 8.6 million doses.

The ingredients are at Beijing Airport awaiting discharge and will be used by the Butantan Institute, funded by the state of Sao Paulo, which has a partnership with Sinovac to produce the vaccines in Brazil.


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