Thousands of Brazilians took to the streets yesterday for the second day in a row to demand an impeachment against President Jair Bolsonaro, whom they accuse of being weak in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 217 thousand people in the country, where infections reach almost 9 million.
Protesters in cars paraded through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and about 10 other cities honking their horns, while others went on foot shouting: Go away, Bolsonaro!
Yesterday’s protests were called by conservative groups that once supported the president, while Saturday’s were from the left.
When Bolsonaro arrived, we voted for him because we found his proposals interesting, but today the situation due to the pandemic is terrible, said Meg Fernandes, a 66-year-old engineer who joined the protest in Rio.
She added that she was dismayed by the situation in the northern city of Manaus, where there is a waiting list for intensive care beds and a shortage of medical oxygen, which has led to the death of dozens of people and forced the transfer of patients and premature babies. to other regions of the country.
A recent outbreak in Manaus, which was one of the first places seriously affected by the virus during the first wave, became another government failure to tackle the coronavirus. The city, deep in the Amazon rainforest, ran out of oxygen last week, leaving hospitals dependent on black market cylinders or tanks imported from Venezuela, a nation subject to severe sanctions by the United States and whose government led by Nicolás Maduro does not recognize the president of Brazil.
Bolsonaro, who is in the middle of his four-year term, has faced new criticism in recent weeks not only for the crisis in Manaus, but for delaying launching the Covid-19 vaccination campaign. The president has long refused to apply quarantine measures, arguing that the economic damage would be worse than the disease.
Vaccination against Covid-19 runs the risk of slowing down just started, in the middle of the second wave of the pandemic, due to government management errors to guarantee supplies, experts warn.
The National Immunization Plan began a week ago, after the authorization for the emergency use of 6 million doses of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine and 2 million of the British AstraZeneca / Oxford, which after several delays arrived in Brazil on Friday from India, where they are made.
The Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo, associated with the Chinese laboratory Sinovac that makes CoronaVac, also received authorization for another 4.8 million doses.
The two vaccines require double inoculation and are intended for priority groups (health personnel, the elderly and indigenous people). Once exhausted, the immunization of this country of 212 million inhabitants will depend on the importation of supplies from China, both for CoronaVac and AstraZeneca.
But already on Tuesday the alarms sounded due to delays in shipments, at a time when the disease was spreading again with balances of more than a thousand deaths a day.
If these supplies do not arrive, we will have to interrupt the campaign, admitted the vice president of the Brazilian Society of Immunology, Isabella Ballalai, in statements to the Afp agency.
After repeatedly refusing to adopt containment measures and affirming that Covid-19 was a gripita – which led Brazil to occupy the second place with the highest number of deaths from the virus, only after the United States – Bolsonaro ended 2020 with a good rating in polls, fueled by generous coronavirus fiscal aid package.
However, January has been less kind. The social assistance program ended, leaving many poor Brazilians stranded as a second wave of the pandemic gains steam in the South American nation.
Support for Bolsonaro, who overcame Covid-19, has suffered its biggest drop since the start of his administration in 2019, a Datafolha poll revealed on Friday. His administration was rated bad or terrible by 40 percent of those surveyed, compared with 32 percent in early December.
But the majority of Brazilians reject it being challenged, according to a second Datafolha poll. The study found that 53 percent are against being impeachment by Congress, up from 50 percent in a previous poll.