In a video conference with members of Brazil’s business elite, President Jair Bolsonaro referred to Covid-19 as a “little flu,” suggesting that he would survive a bout of the disease after having survived an attempted murder in 2018.
Mr. Bolsonaro was accompanied by his Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who gave a thorough yet pessimistic outlook for Brazil in the coming months, suggesting that the public health system would “collapse” next month. He went on to say that Covid-19 cases would only plateau in the country in July, before falling in September—in six months’ time.
At the same time, the Health Ministry reported that the country currently has 904 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths.
The teleconference also allowed for an insight into how Brazil’s private sector is handling the Covid-19 pandemic, including a number of promises from businesses to help out in the fight against the disease.
Pharmacy chain Raia offered to offer Covid-19 quick tests and flu vaccines, which the Health Ministry supplemented by announcing it will order 8.5 percent of all Brazilian pharmacies to serve as public health checkpoints.
According to Bradesco, the commercial activity of pharmacies has grown 54 percent since the beginning of the pandemic, while the retail and restaurant sectors have fallen 17 and 39 percent.
The tourism sector—heavily affected around the world—recorded a 90 percent drop in business and expects to close 300 hotels around the country by next week. Productivity secretary Carlos Costa announced that the trade and tourism sector will receive assistance to obtain working capital in short-term credit lines. Meanwhile, the tourism industry has also offered the possibility of using hotels to receive patients.