Lula receives COVID hit as Brazil coronavirus crisis continues | News on the coronavirus pandemic

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has received his first COVID-19 vaccine, as the country struggles to contain the spike in infections and stem the growing number of coronavirus-related deaths.

In a video posted on social media, the former left-wing leader called on Brazilians to “avoid gatherings” just days after a Supreme Court judge. reversed his convictions for corruption, opening the door to a possible future presidential election.

Lula, who ruled Brazil from 2003 to 2010, received an injection of China’s CoronaVac vaccine in Sao Bernardo do Campo, a suburb of Sao Paulo.

“It is the government’s duty to guarantee vaccines,” said Lula, who has not confirmed whether he plans to challenge far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in elections slated for next year.

The rollout of Brazil’s COVID-19 vaccine has been hampered by long delays and inefficiencies, putting pressure on Bolsonaro, a coronavirus skeptic who has been widely criticized for his government’s handling of the pandemic.

Bolsonaro, who previously said he wouldn’t get a hit from COVID-19, signed a bill last week to speed up vaccine purchases.

“Let us trust our government, let us trust the Ministry of Health,” he said. mentionned Wednesday. “It is an administration of seriousness and responsibility.”

Brazil has recorded the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world after the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with more than 11.3 million infections.

The South American nation has also seen registration numbers of coronavirus-related deaths in recent days.

More than 275,100 people have died in the country so far, as the the health network is deformed under pressure from increasing hospitalizations with COVID-19, fueled in part by the spread of a more easily transmitted variant of the virus.

People walk past graffiti in Rio de Janeiro that say: ‘Coronavirus, together we will win this battle’ [File: Pilar Olivares/Reuters]

“ Deeply concerning ”

“Unless serious action is taken, the upward trend now inundating the health system and exceeding its capacity will result in more deaths,” the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a press briefing.

He said all stakeholders should take the situation seriously, adding that neighboring countries could be affected.

“The situation is deeply worrying and the measures to be taken must be as serious as possible,” Tedros said.

Some Brazilian governors and local leaders have sought to impose lockdowns in the absence of national public health restrictions, but this has also proven difficult.

Police organized an illegal party at a Sao Paulo nightclub that had nearly 600 people present in the early hours of Saturday.

People leave nightclub after it was demolished by authorities for breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules in Sao Paulo on March 13 [Amanda Perobelli/Reuters]

Hundreds of young revelers, few of them masked, curled up on the dance floor as police silenced the music and arrested organizers.

“I could never imagine hundreds and hundreds of people in a place without a single window, with all the doors closed,” said Eduardo Brotero, the policeman who led the operation.

Sao Paulo state governor Joao Doria had imposed a two-week lockdown that began on March 6 for the state of 46.3 million people, citing an increase in hospitalizations.

“More than 1,000 people die every day in Brazil. It’s like five plane crashes a day, ”Doria said when the lockdown was first announced, accusing Bolsonaro of being responsible for the crisis.

“A lot of Brazilians who were buried died because you didn’t do what you were supposed to do: lead,” he said.

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