Bolsonaro: No issues facing Brazil–China relations

The president played down his son's post blaming China on COVID-19

Published in 20/03/2020 - 14:43 By Andreia Verdélio - Brasília

President Jair Bolsonaro said today (Mar. 20) that there are no problems between the governments of Brazil and China, adding that he may contact the Chinese government for assistance in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The president made comments on the decision by the Federal District government, which announced Friday it requested aid “of any nature” from China to cope with the new coronavirus in the capital, like the donation of supplies and medical equipment, as well as recommendations as to what companies can help curbing the pandemic.

State governments are allowed to do it, and the federal government is doing the same, Bolsonaro said. “We’re contacting China ourselves because they have surplus material there,” he said. Company Vale, he added, is also buying supplies from the Asian country to donate to the Brazilian government, and asked for help with customs procedures.

After leaving the Alvorada residence this morning, the president was asked about a publication shared by his son, Federal Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, holding the Chinese government accountable for the coronavirus pandemic. The Chinese Embassy in Brazil said the post harms “the good image of Brazil in the heart of the Chinese people.”

President Bolsonaro stressed he does not intend to bring about a negative “atmosphere” with the Chinese government, and that trade between both countries remains unchanged. What the Congressman (Eduardo Bolsonaro) wrote, he said, does not matter.

Extreme measures

The president stated today that some measures adopted by state officials against the spread of the virus are “extreme,” like shutting down airports and businesses. In his view, authorities must prevent the spread curve from being too high, but governments should make balanced decisions in order to stop other problems from arising.

“We can’t let ourselves be taken over by panic, which would aggravate the situation in Brazil. I have to say the truth and convey calm to the Brazilian people. Some state governors are taking extreme measures that do not suit them, like shutting down airports, roads, shopping centers, and fairs. Trade is brought to a halt, and people don’t have anything to eat,” he said. “People eating poorly are more likely to be infected by a virus and succumb,” he argued.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Juliana Andrade / Nira Foster

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