Brazil, Bolsonaro Unmoved as Covid-19 Spreads

On 2 June, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said that “it’s everyone’s destiny” to die, on the same day that the country saw a new record number of deaths from coronavirus (Covid-19).
Brazil Bolsonaro Covid-19 Spreads

Analysis:

Even as the coronavirus outbreak continues to steadily worsen in Brazil, contributing to political uncertainty, Bolsonaro has not shifted his stance on the disease: downplaying its severity, arguing that the economy must be protected first, and dismissing science-based guidelines for containing and treating the virus. Bolsonaro’s rhetoric and actions have contributed to Brazil’s poor management of the pandemic, increasing confusion and misinformation amongst the population, and putting the brakes on a coordinated response at an institutional level.

  • Brazil registered a record 1,262 daily deaths from Covid-19 yesterday, bringing the country’s total to 31,199 fatalities. Confirmed cases increased by 28,936, the second highest daily increase recorded, to a total of 555,383.
  • When asked by a supporter to give a message to grieving families yesterday, Bolsonaro said, “I regret all of the deaths, but it’s everyone’s destiny”. He also again defended using the anti-malarial drug chloroquine to treat Covid-19, despite numerous indications to the contrary from the scientific and medical community.
  • Yesterday, the federal public prosecutor’s office (MPF) launched an inquiry into the low execution of the health ministry’s Covid-19 budget, noting the possible “inefficiency of the federal government to address the evolution of Covid-19 in the health area”.
  • According to the MPF, as of 27 May the health ministry had committed only R$2.59bn (US$498m) of its R$11.74bn coronavirus budget, of which just R$804.68m had been spent – just 6.8% of the total. The MPF also found that the value of transfers to states and municipalities had begun to fall after 13 April. “It is a well-known fact that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases continues to rise, with Brazil standing out in relation to other countries [...], in such a way that the use of available resources would be expected”, a prosecutor on the case stated.

Looking Ahead:

Brazil has now gone almost three weeks without a permanent health minister following the resignation of Nelson Teich, with no sign that Bolsonaro is looking to make a permanent appointment – casting further doubt over his government’s response to rising infections.

In brief: Brazil maintains steady oil production despite pandemic

* Brazil’s national oil sector regulator (ANP) has reported that the country produced 3.73m barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) in April, including 2.95m barrels of oil per day (bpd) and 124m cubic metres per day of natural gas. Despite the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic temporarily interrupting production in 38 fields and paralysing activities in 66 marine production plants, oil production was practically unchanged from March, decreasing by 0.5%, while natural gas production increased by 1.9%. The ANP notes that 69.5% of total production in April came from the 'pre-salt' offshore fields, accounting for 2.59m boed – a 4.2% increase on pre-salt production in March, and a 31.2% increase on pre-salt production in April 2019.

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