Brazilian president dismisses COVID-19 and rides with dozens of bikers

Brazilian president dismisses COVID-19 pandemic by riding with huge crowd of bikers through capital city on Mother’s Day – despite country ranking second in the world for daily deaths

  • President Jair Bolsonaro lead dozens of bikers through the Brazilian capital Brasilia for a rally on Sunday to celebrate Sunday
  • Bolsonaro used the rally to tell supporters that he would not instruct the army to enforce state lockdown measures imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Brazil currently has the second highest daily death rate from Covid, after India
  • Brazil suffered 38,911 new cases on Sunday, and 1,024 new deaths
  • Overall, the country has suffered 422,340 Covid deaths and 15,184,790 cases
  • Bolsonaro was infected with the coronavirus in July 2020. In the past, the hardline leader compared the epidemic to a ‘little flu’ 

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has once again defied the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic by leading a large motorbike rally on Sunday as he continued to fight the criticism over his management of the crisis.

Bolsonaro, who was sickened with the coronavirus in July 2020, led hundreds of bikers through the streets in the capital of Brasilia in celebration of Mother’s Day on Sunday.

The hardline president was heavily guarded by security guards and led the motorcade for a one-hour trip around the center of the town before he addressed his throng of supporters. 

It came as Brazil remained second in the world for daily cases and deaths from Coronavirus, behind crisis-hit India.

Brazil suffered 38,911 new cases of Coronavirus on Sunday, and 1,024 new deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University.

By comparison, the United States in third place had 21,392 new cases and 238 deaths.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (left) led a motorcade through Brasilia with supporters representing the motorcycle clubs in honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (front right) joined supporters for a ride through the South American nation’s country despite the COVID-19 pandemic

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters ride motorcycles to celebrate the National Mother’s Day 

But Bolsonaro insisted that the country is recovering. 

‘We had a very serious problem last year, something that no-one expected: the pandemic. But bit by bit we’re winning,’ he said.

He also reassured followers that he would not deploy the Army to enforce lockdowns. 

He said: ‘Rest assured, as supreme commander of the Armed Forces, my army will never go into the streets to keep you in your homes.’ 

Brazil is one of the worst hit countries in the world by the pandemic. 

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro was at the center of a motorcade Sunday in Brasilia to celebrate Mother’s Day and once again defend himself against criticism of how he has handled the COVID-19 pandemic

Overall, the South American nation had registered 422,340 confirmed deaths – second behind the United States – as of Monday.

Bolsonaro, a fierce critic of social lockdown measures to contain the spread of the virus, concluded the rally by posing for photographs and shaking hands with supporters, many of whom, like him, were not wearing face masks.

‘I’m taking part in the event to support everything (the government) has done these last few years to save Brazil,’ said protester Carlos Toledo, 61.

People visit the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery on Mothers Day, in Manaus, Brazil. Cemeteries in Brazil opened this weekend for the first time for the general public since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro was all smiles as he and his supporters rode motorcycles to celebrate the Mother’s Day, in Brasilia, the South American nation’s capital

Although the number of new coronavirus cases has dropped in recent weeks, Brazil has the highest fatality rate in the Americas and the southern hemisphere.

Bolsonaro supporters also took to the streets in several major cities such as Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro during Labor Day celebrations just over a week ago.

On Wednesday, the far-right leader suggested that China created the coronavirus ‘to spark a chemical warfare.’ 

‘It’s a new virus. Nobody knows whether it was born in a laboratory or because a human ate some animal they shouldn’t have,’ Bolsonaro.

‘But it is there. The military knows what chemical, bacteriological and radiological warfare. Are we not facing a new war? Which country has grown its GDP the most? I will not tell you.’

People with permanent disabilities received the COVID-19 vaccine at an immunization center in Teresina, a city in the northeastern Brazilian  state of Piaui, on Saturday

A child with a disability receives a dose of a coronavirus vaccine at an immunization center in Piaui, Brazil, on Saturday

The comments were made as the Senate began an investigation into the government’s management of the pandemic.

Testifying to the Senate on Tuesday, former health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who was removed in April 2020 for promoting social distancing, said he had ‘systematically’ warned Bolsonaro about the ‘very serious consequences’ of his lax approach to tackling the pandemic. 

Mandetta said he was called to a meeting in the presidential palace where he saw a draft of the decree on the table aimed at expanding chloroquine’s use to include COVID-19 treatment. He said the president of Brazil’s health regulator also was present and refused to get behind the decree.

‘The only guidance on chloroquine that came from the (health) ministry was for compassionate use, when there was no other resource for critical patients,’ said Mandetta, who was fired by Bolsonaro in April 2020. ‘Our guidance was based on science. He (Bolsonaro) had parallel counseling.’

Mandetta’s successor Nelson Teich said last week he resigned over pressure from Bolsonaro to promote malaria drug chloroquine as a remedy for Covid-19 despite experts’ insistence that it is ineffective and even potentially harmful.

The government’s insistent promotion of chloroquine and a less toxic version, hydroxychloroquine, is expected to be among the lawmakers’ key lines of investigation. 

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