Brazil's Bolsonaro says COVID-19 restrictions kill economy

Brazil's Bolsonaro says COVID-19 restrictions kill economy

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Brasilia
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro is seen at the Alvorada Palace, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brasilia, Brazil, July 18, 2020.REUTERS/Adriano Machado

SAO PAULO: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Saturday (Jul 18) that lockdown measures used to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus "kill" and have "suffocated" the country's economy.

"Without salaries and jobs, people die," he said referring to restrictions imposed by some states and municipalities. "Lockdown kills," he added, saying that some politicians have suffocated the economy with forced curfews.

The president's statement comes as Brazil's economy is expected to contract 6.4per cent this year, hit by the pandemic.

Bolsonaro, who announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on Jul 7, met his supporters in the grounds of his official residence, the Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia.

The president was wearing a mask and kept some meters of distance from his supporters.

READ: Brazil COVID-19 cases halt exponential rise, though 'fight' continues: WHO

READ: WHO reports another record daily increase in global COVID-19 cases, up nearly 260,000

Bolsonaro said he is feeling well, despite the virus, and again credited his health to the use of hydroxychloroquine to fight COVID-19, despite no scientific evidence. "I am a living proof (that the drug works)," he told supporters.

Besides hydroxychloroquine, the far-right president said he is also taking an anti-parasite drug to fight coronavirus.

Brazil registered 28,532 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 921 new deaths on Saturday, the health ministry said. Total cases in Brazil, the world's second most affected country after the United States, have now risen to 2,074,860 while deaths totaled 78,772.

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Source: Reuters/nh