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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

‘Tragedy foretold’: Coronavirus ravages Brazil as cities reopen

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Brazil surpassed 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, as the virus continues to ravage Latin America’s largest country even as cities reopen bars, restaurants and gyms sparking fears infections will keep rising.

Brazil has the world’s second-largest outbreak after the United States and the virus has killed more than 60,000 people in the country.

In Rio de Janeiro, crowds gathered to drink on the sidewalk of an upscale beach-side neighbourhood on Thursday night, the first evening bars in the city were allowed to reopen.

A woman walking past a graffiti of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and a person depicting the coronavirus pulling a rope against health workers in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The graffiti reads: ‘Which side are you on?’ [File: Amanda Perobelli/Reuters]

Pictures of the revelry in Leblon, where few were wearing face masks and people were huddled close together, went viral on social media drawing condemnation and concern.

“A tragedy foretold,” David Miranda, a federal congressman for Rio, wrote on Twitter above a picture of the crowded sidewalk. He criticised the city’s Mayor Marcelo Crivella.

“Crivella’s decision to throw open the doors of business will come with a high cost,” he added.

Crivella’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In Rio alone, more than 6,600 people have died of COVID-19 in the past four months. Only 14 countries in the world have a death toll higher than the city. Intensive care units in public hospitals are at 70 percent capacity.

Left Wing Parties and Social Movements Protest Against President Bolsonaro and Governor of Rio de Janeiro Witzel Amidst The Coronavirus (COVID - 19) Pandemic

Demonstrators hold signs during a rally against President Jair Bolsonaro and Governor of Rio de Janeiro Wilson Witzel amidst the coronavirus pandemic at Copacabana beach on June 28, 2020 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Andre Coelho/Getty Images]

Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest and worst-hit city, is expected to open bars and restaurants next week.

President Jair Bolsonaro has been widely criticised by health experts for downplaying the severity of the virus which he has dismissed as just “a little flu”. Bolsonaro has pressured governors and mayors for months to reverse lockdown measures and reopen the economy.

On Friday, Bolsonaro vetoed parts of a law that would have made wearing a face mask obligatory in enclosed spaces where large groups gather – such as churches and schools.

Bolsonaro has regularly flouted social distancing guidelines advised by most health experts, shaking hands and embracing supporters. He has said publicly that his past as an athlete makes him immune to the worst symptoms of the virus.

Reuters news agency

Al Jazeera English

Source – www.aljazeera.com

'Tragedy foretold': Coronavirus ravages Brazil as cities reopen
Bryan M. Hicks
Bryan M. Hicks is a creative guy. He loves what he does, he is the best at video editing. This is a guy we look upto if anything creative we ever want to build at Ethical Editor.

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Updated on September 22, 2021 10:17 pm

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