Coronavirus — Brazil’s Supreme Court Orders Bolsonaro to Resume Publishing Data

  • Brazil has become the Latin American country most affected by the pandemic.
  • Justice Moraes gave Mr. Bolsonaro's government 48 hours to effect the release the full figures again.
  • Brazil's president is on record for not giving the Coronavirus pandemic the seriousness it deserves.

On Tuesday, a ruling by the Federal Supreme Court, Brazil’s highest court, ordered the government to resume the dissemination of data on the progress of the coronavirus. The nation’s Ministry of Health had been reporting data before Brazil passed 37,000 deaths, becoming the third-highest total in the world.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have spread to Brazil on 25 February 2020, when a man from São Paulo tested positive for the virus. As of 6 June 2020, 672,846 cases have been confirmed in the country, causing 35,930 deaths.

Still, the tension between President Jair Bolsonaro, and other federal powers, and Brazil’s state governments over the management of the coronavirus pandemic continues, unabated. Brazil has become the Latin American country most affected by the pandemic.

The decision of the Federal Supreme Court responds to the request of three opposition parties, who filed a complaint on Saturday. This was days after the government had decided to suspend the official publication of the coronavirus data on new cases and deaths as a result of the pandemic.

In a statement on Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes said that the health ministry must “fully re-establish the daily divulgation of epidemiological data on the Covid-19 pandemic,” including on its website.

Justice Moraes gave Mr. Bolsonaro’s government 48 hours to effect the release the full figures again. The Bolsonaro-led administration had, at first, argued that many governors were “inflating” the number of coronavirus infections and deaths to get more resources from the state.

In addition, the Brazilian Health Minister, Eduardo Pazuello, was summoned today by a commission from the Chamber of Deputies to provide explanations about the changes in the dissemination of Covid-19 data. Pazuello explained that the omissions in recent days were due to adjustments and a new data model that the ministry will present as soon as possible.

Bolsonaro reacted quickly to the decision of the Federal Supreme Court and, in a ministerial meeting broadcast live from the Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia, he assured people that his government is on the side of “transparency,” and that he is not afraid of “truth.”

Jair Bolsonaro is a Brazilian politician and retired military officer who has been the 38th president of Brazil since 1 January 2019. He served in the country’s Chamber of Deputies, representing the state of Rio de Janeiro, between 1991 and 2018.

The head of state added, using the Bible, as he often does in his speeches, that the phrase of the Gospel according to St. John says “they will know the truth and the truth will set them free.” That continues to be “the motto of our government,” Bolsonaro said.

As a result of the judgment of the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Health has again published on its portal the data on the total of confirmed cases and on the deaths of Covid-19 . Since last Friday, the government had only disclosed data on cases and deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, hiding the total data, and causing reactions from opposition and the country’s activists.

Brazil’s president is on record for not giving the Coronavirus pandemic the seriousness it deserves, and describing it as a “mere flu.” The high death rate in the country due to the pandemic notwithstanding, and as if that is not enough, the Brazilian president a few days ago threatened to pull his country out of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Bolsonaro accuses it of ideological bias, after the organization warned governments not to lift lockdowns before working on ways of slowing the spread of the new coronavirus. “I’m telling you right now, the United States left the WHO, and we’re studying that, in the future, either the WHO works without ideological bias, or we leave, too,” Bolsonaro told journalists outside the presidential palace on Friday.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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