President Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday that the number of deaths in the state of São Paulo from the new coronavirus “is rigged” and would aim to serve the political interests of São Paulo governor João Doria (PSDB).
Bolsonaro cast doubt on the deaths in São Paulo and used as a justification the edition of a state decree that, in his words, passed an orientation in which, if a person does not have an identified cause of death, the death would be registered as a new coronavirus.
“There is a State there that guided it by decree that, ultimately, if there is no concrete cause of death, put coronavirus there to stick. We regret that there, it is an incorrect attitude”, he said, in an interview with the journalist José Luiz Datena, in the television program Brasil Urgente.
The presenter then said it was in São Paulo. Initially, the president said he would not speak because he did not want to argue with anyone, but then he ended up questioning Doria’s performance – with whom he has had tough clashes in recent days because of his efforts to fight the advancement of the new coronavirus.
Since Tuesday this week, the State has decreed quarantine as a way to mitigate the spread of the virus. The initiative was severely criticized by Bolsonaro.
“If everyone is a coronavirus, it is a sign that the State is defrauding that person’s cause of death, wanting to make political use of numbers, that we cannot admit,” he said.
According to the latest balance sheet released by the Ministry of Health, São Paulo recorded 68 deaths from the disease, out of a total of 92 across the country.
The cases confirmed by Covid-19 in Brazil are 3,417, of which 1,223 in São Paulo.
Urged by Datena after saying that he also disagreed with the content of the decree and evaluating that São Paulo was the epicenter of the disease in the country, the president compared outdated numbers of deaths in Rio de Janeiro with São Paulo to question the data of the most populous state in the country.
“It is very big for São Paulo (number of deaths), so, you have to see what is happening there, it cannot be a numbers game to favor political interest. Look, so many died here in my state, so justified the measure that I took, “he said.
“I’m not believing in that number, even after the governor’s decree there,” he added.
The president said he saw an interview given by Doria a little earlier in which the São Paulo governor would have said that in Italy, “due care was not taken with the old people”. But, according to Bolsonaro, “the old people were inside the house”.
“There is no point in wanting to torture numbers from outside Brazil to justify it here,” he criticized.
The São Paulo governor, whom Bolsonaro came to call “parrot” for successive press interviews in recent days, is a potential candidate for the Planalto Palace in 2022.
In an interview shortly after with Datena, Doria initially said that she would not turn the case into a political debate, but a health debate.
He said that every decision was made based on the advice given by the Covid-19 Contingency Center in the State and follows a protocol of guidelines given by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health.
“All procedures follow the same alignment. I criticized the president’s campaign encouraging people not to leave the house,” he said, stressing that, in principle, he should not review the decision to keep quarantine until April 7. .
“We hope until then that we will not have to renew the quarantine, we are working to reduce the number of people infected,” he added.