Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil Photograph:( Reuters )
Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the virus comparing the new coronavirus to a 'little flu' and asserted that Brazilians' immune systems were so strong they could swim in raw sewage and 'not catch a thing'
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro sparked outrage and drew criticism over his homophobic outburst for telling Brazilians not to deal with Covid-19 like "a country of fags".
In his latest controversial statement, the far-right leader hit out at hysteria over the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that "all of us are going to die one day" and to "stop being a country of sissies".
"All anyone talks about these days is the pandemic. We need to stop that," said Bolsonaro during the speech, which was ostensibly on tourism.
"I regret the deaths. I really do. But we're all going to die someday. There's no use fleeing reality. We have to stop being a country of fags.... We have to face up to it and fight. I hate this faggot stuff."
His comments triggered immediate outcry from critics.
"Between 'gunpowder' and 'fags,' we have more than 160,000 dead in the country," tweeted the speaker of the lower house of Congress, Rodrigo Maia.
Entre pólvora, maricas e o risco à hiperinflação, temos mais de 160 mil mortos no país, uma economia frágil e um estado às escuras. Em nome da Câmara dos Deputados, reafirmo o nosso compromisso com a vacina, a independência dos órgãos reguladores e com a responsabilidade fiscal.— Rodrigo Maia (@RodrigoMaia) November 10, 2020
"Our solidarity to all the friends and family of victims of Covid-19."
E a todos os parentes e amigos de vítimas da covid-19 a nossa solidariedade.— Rodrigo Maia (@RodrigoMaia) November 10, 2020
Bolsonaro is a longstanding enemy of Brazil’s LGBTQ+ community and during three decades in politics has made no secret of his homophobia.
Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the virus comparing the new coronavirus to a "little flu" and asserted that Brazilians' immune systems were so strong they could swim in raw sewage and "not catch a thing."
Brazil reported 25,012 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 201 deaths from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
The South American country has registered 5,700,044 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 162,829, according to ministry data. It is the world's second most fatal outbreak after the United States.