Report by: Nandika Chand | Last Update June 8, 2020
Brazil’s far-right government has been metted criticism for refusing to disclose the total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. The president, Jair Bolsonaro has been accused of totalitarianism and censorship amid a worldwide health crisis. Brazil is among the countries to be worst-hit by the novel coronavirus, with more deaths than Italy.
According to the John Hopkins University data, the South American nation has the world’s second-highest number of cases – 672,846 with 35,930 deaths. Brazil’s government stopped releasing the cumulative numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday night. The country’s health ministry stopping giving a total count of confirmed cases as it had gone past 670,000.
“The cumulative data does not reflect the moment the country is in,” Bolsonaro tweeted. “Other actions are underway to improve the reporting of cases and confirmation of diagnoses.” Brazil’s far-right president has replaced medical experts in the Health Ministry with military officials. He has argued against nationwide lockdown to contain the virus.
Alberto Beltrame, president of Brazil’s national council of state health secretaries, said the authoritarian, insensitive, inhumane and unethical attempt to make those killed by COVID-19 invisible will not succeed. Moreover, the Brazilian Press Association has slammed the government of trying to silence the press. It said transparency of information is a powerful instrument for combating the epidemic.
Paulo Camara, governor of Pernambuco took to Instagram saying you can’t face a pandemic without science, transparency and action. “Manipulation, omission and disrespect are the striking marks of authoritarian administrations. But this won’t destroy the effort of the whole nation,” he said. “We will continue producing, systematising and releasing the data.”
President Bolsonaro had earlier dismissed the virus as a little flu and had said that death was everybody’s destiny.