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Bolsonaro Says Covid Will Last Forever, Isolation Leads Nowhere

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 1/28/2021 Luana Vicentina and Walter Brandimarte

(Bloomberg) -- President Jair Bolsonaro dismissed social distancing measures just as Brazil recorded more than 9 million cases of Covid-19, suggesting that the population will need to learn how to live with the virus.

“This issue of Covid will continue for life,” he said at his weekly live webcast on social media, adding that local authorities’ efforts to reimpose restrictive measures will “lead nowhere.”

Jair Bolsonaro wearing a suit and tie: Bolsonaro Attends the Air Force 80th Anniversary Celebration Amidst the Coronavirus (COVID - 19) Pandemic © Photographer: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images South America Bolsonaro Attends the Air Force 80th Anniversary Celebration Amidst the Coronavirus (COVID - 19) Pandemic

Jair Bolsonaro on Jan. 20.

Photographer: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil has been struggling to import and produce enough vaccines to protect its population of 210 million, with less than 1.5 million doses administered so far. The slow inoculation campaign is weighing on the country’s economic prospects as a second wave of the virus strains the public health system, forcing authorities to reimpose restrictions on commerce and mobility.

Read More: Brazil Begins Discussing More Financial Aid Amid Virus Surge

With the rise in virus cases, calls for another round of cash handouts to poor Brazilians have been growing, leading the Economy Ministry to start working on alternatives to finance the additional spending.

Bolsonaro repeated, however, that the government’s ability to take on debt to provide more emergency payments “has reached its limit.”

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