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A BRAZILIAN governor said today that he had received threats after criticising President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
Sao Paulo’s Joao Doria, who was once an ally of the president, said that he had increased security for his wife and relocated his children after receiving threats.
His state has reported 11,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and almost 800 deaths, the highest figure in the country.
Mr Bolsonaro has refused to impose lockdowns and place restrictions on businesses as he says doing so would wreck the economy.
He has repeatedly downplayed the dangers of Covid-19, calling it “a little flu” and suggested a minimalist strategy of asking only individuals who are most at risk to be quarantined.
On Wednesday, Mr Doria said: “We’re fighting against the coronavirus, and against the ‘Bolsonaro virus’.”
He said that the president had adopted “incorrect, irresponsible positions.”
“Despite the negative instructions that people receive from the president, half the population [of Sao Paulo] has respected quarantine,” Mr Doria said.
“We have to confront the president and protect the population.”
Other Brazillian governors have begun backing away from their previous stance of criticising the president, allegedly out of concern that federal funding to help them counter the pandemic in their states could be diverted elsewhere.
At a protest last weekend, a Bolsonaro supporter yelled over a loudspeaker that a group would go into his home, break everything and Mr Doria was “going to die.”
Meanwhile, Brazil’s congress is demanding that Mr Bolsonaro release the results of his own coronavirus tests following speculation the president could be infected after 23 people who accompanied him to the United States last month tested positive.
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