Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro Wednesday announced the creation of a committee of experts which is to convene weekly to guide the government's fight against the Covid-19 pandemic as it spreads rapidly causing over 3,000 deaths every 24 hours.
With the Covid-19 pandemic which is regarded to be virtually out of control, Bolsonaro finally gave in: Life comes first. We have resolved, between other things, that a coordination with the governors with the president of the federal senate will be created, as pressure mounted for him to take concrete measures. The worsening of the Brazilian outbreak is attributed to the spread of highly contagious variants of the virus.
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga -the fourth person to hold that position under Bolsonaro- said that the local Unified Health System (SUS) will be stronger after the creation of the committee to provide the Brazilian population with agility with a vaccination campaign that can achieve vaccination coverage capable of reducing the circulation of the virus.
Queiroga also announced new protocols are to be enforced to change “the natural history of the disease and vowed that the health system in Brazil will give the answers that the Brazilian population wants.” Bolsonaro has so far been reluctant to purchase the CoronaVac vaccine and delayed acquisitions from Pfizer and Janssen for reasons that remain unclear.
The cardiologist Queiroga was appointed Tuesday to replace Eduardo Pazuello, an active-duty army general who is under investigation at the Supreme Court over alleged negligence. Pazuello's two predecessors both left government after clashing with President Bolsonaro's positions on Covid-19.
Brazil's federal government has instead focused on the development of the University of Oxford / AstraZeneca shot. But the production and application process is backing down due to technical problems.
President Bolsonaro, who has opposed lockdowns and criticised face masks, defended his actions -or inactions rather- on Tuesday but had to make a U-turn a day later. He who repeatedly played down the virus raised doubts about vaccines and defended unproven drugs as treatment - said he would make 2021 the year of vaccinations. Very soon we shall resume our normal lives, he promised after the health ministry reported that 3,251 people had died with the virus in the previous 24 hours.
The president had argued that the collateral damage to the economy brought by restrictions would be worse than the effects of the virus itself, but his attempts to stop local authorities from imposing them were blocked Tuesday by the Supreme Court.