Brazilís President Jair Bolsonaro, with a lowered mask, touches his face during a press conference on the coronavirus pandemic at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on March 20, 2020. (By AFP)
In extraordinary moves, social media platforms Facebook and Instagram have removed videos posted by Brazilís President Jair Bolsonaro for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, and the countryís opposition has demanded that he resign over his response to the outbreak.
In a stinging statement published on Monday, a dozen prominent left-leaning politicians in Brazil called Bolsonaro, nicknamed the Tropical Trump for the resemblance of his character to the US president, "an irresponsible president."
"Bolsonaro is more than just a political problem; he has become a public-health problem... He should resign," read the statement, also calling the Brazilian president "the greatest obstacle" to measures needed to contain the pandemic in Latin Americaís largest and most populous nation.
"Brazil and the world are facing an emergency unprecedented in modern history... [and] in our country, the emergency is exacerbated by an irresponsible president. Jair Bolsonaro is the greatest obstacle to urgent decisions being taken to reduce the spread of the infection [and] save lives," the politicians said in the statement, which was first published in the local daily Folha de São Paulo.
They said Bolsonaro was in no position to govern Brazil because he "commits crimes ... lies and fosters chaos, taking advantage of the despair of our most vulnerable citizens."
The far-right president sparked fury in recent days by downplaying the extent of the pandemic and discounting efforts to contain its spread through quarantines and the shutdown of businesses.
Bolsonaro also ignored his own health ministerís call for physical distancing on Sunday and went out to the streets of the capital, Brasilia, mingling with his supporters. Footage showed him saying "Weíll all die one day" and encouraging people to keep the economy going.
Moreover, he has rejected criticism of his response to the virus outbreak, insisting that it is geared toward protecting workers and the economy.
"Weíre going to tackle the virus but tackle it like f**king men - not like kids," he was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Brazil has so far reported the most coronavirus cases in South America, with 4,256 infections and 136 deaths.
Three Brazilian ministers, including National Security Minister Augusto Heleno, have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. So has President of the Brazilian Senate Davi Alcolumbre.
Furthermore, 22 other Brazilian officials that recently joined Bolsonaro on an official visit to Washington also tested positive for the highly contagious virus.
Facebook, Instagram remove Bolsonaroís videos
Meanwhile, Facebook and Instagram removed videos posted by Bolsonaro on Monday, arguing that they spread misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the clips, posted on the Brazilian presidentís official pages, showed him praising an anti-malaria drug as effective against COVID-19. Another showed him with his supporters in Brasilia.
The measure was taken a day after Twitter took similar action, arguing on Sunday that it had removed the videos in accordance with its recently expanded global rules on managing content that contradicted public health information from official sources, and could put people at greater risk of transmitting COVID-19.
SOURCE: PRESS TV