On Monday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro declared gyms and hair salons as essential businesses allowing them to continue operating despite the increasing death toll in the country.
“The question of life has to be taken in parallel with jobs. Without the economy there is no life, there are no doctors, there are no hospital supplies,” Bolsonaro told reporters.
This announcement comes after also listing pharmacies, grocery stores, lotteries and churches as essential. Bolsonaro has promised more easing to come.
The president has continuously downplayed the severity of the virus. Earlier last month, Bolsonaro sparked mass fury when he responded “so what?” after being asked about the country’s death toll which then, was over 5,000.
According to Health Minister Nelson Teich the ministry was not consulted before Bolsonaro’s announcement.
As of May 12, there are a total of 169,594 confirmed cases in the Latin American nation, an increase of 451 cases from the day earlier. The number of deaths has also increased by 28 bringing the death toll to 11,653.
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