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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a press conference at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, March 31.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a press conference at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, March 31. Andressa Anholete / Bloomberg / Getty Images
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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has ignored criticism that he is “genocidal” in his opposition to Covid-19 restrictions, as the nation has recorded its deadliest 24 hours of the pandemic to date.

Brazil reported a record of 4,195 new deaths linked to Covid-19, showed Tuesday the latest data from the Ministry of Health. The new figures brought the total number of deaths from the pandemic in the country to 336,947.

Bolsonaro, who has continued to downplay the severity of his country’s health crisis, has brushed aside claims he was responsible for the growing death toll in the country. The president has repeatedly opposed lockdowns and restrictive measures and criticized governors and mayors with insulting language for their implementation.

“They called me homophobic, racist, fascist, torturer and now… what is it now?” Now I’m… someone who kills a lot of people? Genocidal! Now I am genocidal, ”he said Tuesday evening outside the presidential palace in Brasilia, according to a video posted on YouTube.

Several political opponents of Bolsonaro accused him of “genocide”, using the term loosely to characterize the consequences of his response to Covid-19.

“Why am I not blamed here in Brazil?” he asked rhetorically in the video.

The Brazilian leader also appeared to suggest that the pandemic was a media invention that could be solved by providing the media with government subsidies.

“I can fix the virus problem in a matter of minutes. I just have to pay what governments have paid in the past to Globo, to Folha [de São Paulo], O Estado de São Paulo, ”he said, referring to a national broadcaster and two São Paulo-based newspapers.. “Now this money is not for the press, it is for something else.”

Bolsonaro then reiterated his anti-restriction stance, arguing – wrongly – that states where tougher measures have been imposed experience higher death tolls.

“Which state has locked the most? São Paulo. Which one has the highest number of deaths, proportionally? São Paulo, ”he falsely asserted.

Although São Paulo has the highest absolute death toll, it ranks 10th for the number of deaths per capita.

Bolsonaro also said the lockdown would be counterproductive as people would be more vulnerable to the virus.

“I’ve seen recent research that says those who lead a healthy lifestyle are eight times less likely to have issues with Covid,” he said. “You lock people up at home… what does he do at home?” I doubt they haven’t increased their weight a bit from last year to this year.

“Even I got my stomach a little bigger,” he joked.

Cases continue to climb in Brazil: Brazil recorded the deadliest day of the pandemic to date on Tuesday. In addition, 86,979 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported across the country, bringing the number of infections to 13,100,580, according to the Department of Health.

Global cases of Covid-19 have increased for the sixth week in a row, according to the WHO weekly epidemiological update on Tuesday.

Brazil, along with the United States, Turkey and France have followed India in the highest number of new Covid-19 cases reported worldwide.

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Bolsonaro ignores criticism he is 'genocidal' as Brazil reports record 4,000 dead per day

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