Bolsonaro: Brazil to get raw material to produce hydroxychloroquine

He argued for the use of the drug in the initial stages of COVID-19

Published in 09/04/2020 - 11:18 By Agência Brasil - Brasília

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made an official pronouncement on national TV and radio saying the country by Saturday (11) will receive raw materials to produce hydroxychloroquine, a medicine also used in the treatment of diseases like malaria, lupus, and arthritis.

The president said that, over the last 40 days, after hearing doctors, researchers, and heads of state, he has been talking about the possibility of treating COVID-19 since the early stages of the disease.

Bolsonaro mentioned a conversation with cardiologist Roberto Kalil, who said he used the drug and also prescribed it to dozens of patients. “They’re are saved. He also said that, even if the testing protocols are not concluded, he administered the medication now in order not to change his mind later. This decision may go down in history for saving thousands of lives in Brazil. Congratulations to Dr. Kalil,” he added.

Employment

Bolsonaro said the government’s goal “has always been to save lives,” and, after expressing condolences towards those who lost family members due to the new coronavirus, he said there are two problems to be tackled simultaneously: the virus and unemployment.

Among the measures adopted by the government to boost the economy, the president mentioned the monthly payment of $120, to be made as of today and to last three months, for informal workers and the jobless as well as micro entrepreneurs. He also highlighted the electricity bill waiver benefiting 9 million families, also for three months, as well as some $12 billion as working capital for small companies and construction.

The president went on to mention withdrawals of up to R$1,045 for those holding an account in Brazil’s  Guarantee Fund for Time of Service, or FGTS. “Bolsa Família beneficiaries—nearly 60 million people—will also get an extra allowance,” he added.

Social distancing

As for the social distancing rules established by governors and mayors, the president said that at no point was the federal government asked regarding the scope and duration of measures. “I respect the autonomy of governors and mayors. Several measures, restrictive or otherwise, fall indeed under their responsibility,” he added. The president said he is convinced that “most Brazilians want to get back to work.” “This has always been my advice to ministers, with World Health Organization [WHO] norms observed,” he pointed out.

Mentioning WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanmom, Bolsoanro said the solutions to the pandemic may vary from country to country, and noted that the poorest sections of the population must work to ensure they have food. “The poorest must not refrain from moving around to bring bread to the table. The consequences of the treatment must not be more harmful than the disease itself. Unemployment, too, leads to poverty, hunger, extreme poverty, and finally death itself.”

Bolsonaro said he is in charge of the issues of the country “as a whole,” resorting his team of cabinet ministers. “All must be in line with me,” the president said.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Juliana Andrade

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