Bolsonaro was warned about Brazil's Covid crisis: Former health minister

WION Web Team
Brasilia, Brazil Published: May 05, 2021, 02:03 PM(IST)

Jair Bolsonaro Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Mandetta believes the Brazilian president’s careless attitude has been a major reason behind this tragedy in Brazil which has affected millions of people in the country

Brazil President was highly criticised for his poor handling of the coronavirus in the country, leading to a high Covid death toll.

Now, the country’s former health minister has revealed that Jair Bolsonaro had ignored repeated warnings by health experts, especially even when he was provided with figures and projections.

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The revelation was made by Luiz Henrique Mandetta during a senate inquiry into Brazil’s coronavirus crisis. Mandetta believes the Brazilian president’s careless attitude has been a major reason behind this tragedy in Brazil which has affected millions of people in the country.

When a senator questioned Mandetta if he and his team had made sure Bolsonaro was aware that not paying attention to the advice from medical officers could cause "death on an enormous scale", Mandetta replied, "yes, sir".

"I warned him systematically, with projections even," the 56-year-old further added. This has come after Mandetta had repeatedly claimed that he had warned Bolsonaro 180,000 Brazilians could die by the end of the year if restrictions were not implemented — a piece of advice carelessly ignored by the President.

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Bringing back the same point, Mandetta pointed out that since restrictions were not implemented, more than 191,000 Brazilians had lost their lives to the deadly virus. "We were off by 11,000," he told the inquiry.

The inquiry was set up last week amid a crisis in the country. "There are culprits … and they will be held responsible," Renan Calheiros, the inquiry’s rapporteur had promised in the beginning of the inquiry. "The country has the right to know who contributed to all these thousands of deaths and those people must be punished immediately and emblematically."

Mandetta was fired publically by Bolsonaro last year after he questioned the President for not following or motivating social distancing or face masks.

"I did everything I could have done in terms of trying to convince him not to go down this extremely perilous path [of rejecting scientific advice]. But he probably had other people telling him that what the health minister was saying was wrong," Mandetta said.

He also presented a three-page letter that he claims to have delivered to Bolsonaro in March 2020. "We expressly recommend that the presidency reconsiders the stance it has adopted, in accord with health ministry guidelines, since taking steps in the opposite direction could cause the health system to collapse and extremely serious consequences for the health of the population," he said.

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