A draft report by lawmakers in Brazil has recommended that President Jair Bolsonaro be indicted on criminal charges for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused thousands of deaths.
More than 600,000 people have died in Brazil due to coronavirus or related complications since the start of the pandemic. The country has the second highest death toll in the world, second only to the US.
The 1,200-page Senate draft report said Mr Bolsonaro was “primarily responsible for the government’s errors during the Covid-19 pandemic” and accused him of acting against the advice of the health ministry.
It recommended 13 criminal charges against the president, including murder and “genocide against Brazil’s indigenous population” that leave their communities vulnerable to the virus. It also recommended criminal charges against his three sons.
Mr Bolsonaro, however, dismissed the report and claimed it was “politically motivated” as it was drafted by opposition leader and Senator Renan Calheiros. The president also called the investigation that resulted in the report a “joke.”
Although the report reflects anger in the country against Mr Bolsonaro and his government, it is unlikely to lead to any real accusations. The report will be finalized only after the Senate Commission votes on it, which is expected next week. The report can be either vetoed or changed. According to Reuters, the president is also unlikely to face trial for criminal charges.
The draft report accused the president of turning down early opportunities for the government to acquire vaccines, delaying Brazil’s vaccination campaign and killing an estimated 95,000 people.
The report said the president was guided by “an unfounded belief in the principle of herd immunity by the existence of natural infections and remedies”. “Without vaccines, deaths would be stratospheric, as they turned out.”
The report also pointed out that the president “spread misinformation that did not encourage compliance with hygiene measures to contain the pandemic”.
Many health experts have downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, ignoring international health guidelines on masks and banning activity designed to prevent the spread of the virus, touting unproven treatments and delaying the acquisition of vaccines, Mr Bolsonaro said. criticized the role of
Mr Bolsonaro has repeatedly said he does not intend to have a Covid-19 vaccine, claiming that the coronavirus infection he contracted last year has given him antibodies. However, scientists refute the claim that antibodies have any long-term role in preventing COVID.
“I’m not going to take the vaccine, period,” he said in a television interview in December last year. “You think my life is in danger? That’s my problem, period.” He also said last year that he would be the “last Brazilian” to be vaccinated and would not force anyone to get the vaccine.
He has not been vaccinated yet.
The Senate committee was created in April this year after the president was criticized for his mismanagement of the pandemic.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /