Brazil’s Bolsonaro, who downplayed Covid against carnival resumption

Brazil Carnival: Bolsonaro said the decision was up to state and local authorities. (file)


President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday he was against the resumption of Brazil’s Carnival celebrations in February, a rare gesture from the far-right leader for COVID-19 social distancing measures.

“As far as I’m concerned, we shouldn’t have a carnival,” Bolsonaro, 66, said in an interview, as Brazil debates whether to go ahead with the festivities held from February 25 to March 1.

This year the carnival in Brazil was canceled due to the pandemic.

But given the sharp drop in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Brazil, officials are considering allowing it to extend beyond 2022.

Bolsonaro said he believed it was too soon, but that the decision was up to state and local officials.

“I don’t want to get involved, because it might just lead to another controversy,” he told radio network Sociedad.

“Last February, the pandemic was just coming, we didn’t know much about it. I declared an emergency and the governors and mayors ignored it. They went on with the carnival. Then the results came, and people said Let’s try that I’m a responsible.”

Bolsonaro appeared to refer to a February 2020 bill passed by Congress declaring COVID-19 a public health emergency, which he signed into law.

He did not mention his more controversial handling of the virus, which he underestimated as the “little flu”, attacking stay-at-home measures, face masks and vaccines.

Last month a Senate inquiry commission said it had found evidence that Bolsonaro committed 10 crimes in his pandemic response, including “crimes against humanity”.

Despite its anti-vaccination statements, Brazil has massively ramped up its vaccination campaign in recent months.

More than 60 percent of Brazil’s 213 million people are now fully vaccinated, with the average daily COVID-19 death count falling from more than 3,000 in April to nearly 200.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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