‘I warned Bolsonaro’, ex-Brazil minister testifies in COVID probe

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Ex-health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta says he instructed President Jair Bolsonaro to take heed to the science to struggle virus.

Brazil’s former well being minister has instructed a parliamentary inquiry that far-right President Jair Bolsonaro ignored repeated warnings that his approach to COVID-19 might trigger the well being system to break down within the South American nation.

Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who was fired in April 2020 by Bolsonaro for not agreeing to push the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus remedy, testified on Tuesday earlier than a Senate fee investigating the Brazilian authorities’s dealing with of the pandemic.

“We expressly recommended the president change his stance. We told him it could cause the health system to collapse,” Mandetta stated.

“I warned Bolsonaro systematically of the consequences of not adopting the recommendations of science to fight COVID-19.”

The former minister additionally stated Bolsonaro knew there was no scientific foundation to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to fight the coronavirus.

He stated he was known as to a cupboard assembly with the president, the place there was a plan to vary the official indications to be used of the drug to say it may very well be prescribed for COVID-19.

Antonio Barra Torres, president of Brazil’s well being regulator Anvisa, who was additionally on the assembly, stated that might not be achieved. “The government was aware that it was prescribing chloroquine without any scientific evidence,” Mandetta stated.

The Brazilian Senate opened an investigation into Bolsonaro’s dealing with of the pandemic on April 27, simply days earlier than the nation surpassed 400,000 deaths linked to the virus.

More than 408,000 individuals have died in Brazil so far, based on Johns Hopkins University information – the second highest whole on the earth after the United States – and public well being specialists are warning that one other lethal wave may very well be coming.

Bolsonaro, who has eschewed public well being restrictions and dismissed the virus as only a “little flu”, is dealing with elevated strain to account for the excessive numbers of COVID-19 deaths and infections.

2021 04 23T184606Z 665708341 RC2U1N92GJQP RTRMADP 3 HEALTH CORONAVIRUS BRAZILA demonstrator carries a banner that reads, ‘Bolsonaro, it is your fault! Genocide’ throughout a protest in opposition to the president’s dealing with of the pandemic [File: Bruno Kelly/Reuters]

But the previous military captain nonetheless refuses to undertake stricter public well being measures, corresponding to lockdowns, to stem the unfold of the virus.

The Senate probe will look at how Bolsonaro’s insurance policies have contributed to the disaster.

Bolsonaro is now on his fourth well being minister for the reason that disaster started, and all 4 are because of testify earlier than the Senate fee, which has a 90-day renewable mandate.

Despite persevering with to face widespread criticism, Bolsonaro’s backers turned out in massive numbers in a number of Brazilian cities over the weekend to indicate their help for the president.

“It’s a critical moment and Bolsonaro needs the people’s support,” Edvaldo de Paulo, a demonstrator who in his 60s, instructed the AFP information company in Brasilia on Saturday.

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