People have been photographed packing a busy market in Brazil despite the country’s ongoing battle with Covid-19.
Brazil has recorded more than 10.9 million cases of coronavirus resulting in more than 260,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The country recorded 75,000 new cases on Saturday alone with at least 1,800 deaths.
The country is facing its deadliest stretch since the pandemic began due to a homegrown virus variant dubbed P1, but concerning images continue to emanate from the South American nation.
On Friday (local time), people were seen packing markets in Brazil’s largest city Sao Paulo ahead of a two week partial lockdown of businesses. Starting on Saturday, Sao Paulo's bars and restaurants will operate only via delivery, while malls and non-essential businesses will be shut.
Antonio, a vendor at the Praça da República square in downtown Sao Paulo, told The Telegraph he still sells “plenty” despite seeing less people than before the pandemic.
"The last time we had [stricter quarantine measures] there were still people out here with their stalls,” he told the paper.
“So, I'll probably be here too, I need to earn money somehow".
Pandemic compared to war
The Sao Paulo Health Secretary, Jean Gorinchteyn, compared the pandemic situation to a war.
"We are in the biggest pandemic crisis in our country, with a large number of deaths per day,” he said.
“This is unacceptable, we have to contain the speed of expansion of the pandemic in our midst.”
The lockdown has angered right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro who said “you cannot panic”.
Mr Bolsonaro has long sought to diminish the gravity of the virus.
“People are going to die of hunger and depression,” he said, referring to strict lockdown measures. But while the country's leader downplays the virus, the body count continues to grow.
President urges Brazilians to stop complaining
On Thursday (local time), President Bolsonaro urged Brazilians to “stop whining”.
"Enough fussing and whining,” he said. “How much longer will the crying go on?
"How much longer will you stay at home and close everything? No one can stand it anymore. We regret the deaths, again, but we need a solution."
The comments came after Brazil had two consecutive days of record Covid-19 deaths.
The government is reportedly working to obtain additional vaccines from more suppliers.
The Health Ministry is negotiating to buy two million additional Pfizer doses by May, 16.9 million Janssen doses by September and 63 million doses of the Moderna vaccine by January 2022, according to documents reviewed by Reuters.
Government-affiliated medical institute Fiocruz said that it has detected the Amazon, United Kingdom and South African variants spreading in various places across the country.
"We are experiencing the worst outlook for the pandemic since it started," Gonzalo Vecina Neto, a medical doctor and former head of Brazilian health regulator Anvisa, said.
"Mutations are the result of the increased reproduction of the virus. The greater the number of viruses, the faster the transmission, the more mutations we have.”
State governors and doctors have complained that the federal government has mismanaged the coronavirus crisis, as Mr Bolsonaro has downplayed its severity and opposed lockdowns.
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