On Friday night the Brazil’s official health website was taken offline as the cumulative numbers were stopped from releasing. On Saturday as the site came back online, it was lacking any COVID-19 tally. The Brazilian government headed by President Bolsonaro has thus been accused of totalitarianism and censorship.
The Health Ministry has reported the website slashing was done post the orders from President Jair Bolsonaro. The orders have led to removing of all the data regarding cases and death tally due to COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil, which is the number two country with most cases detected and is the new hotspot of pandemic. This step has met an outrage from around the world and the country leaders.
Presently, Brazil stands second with most detected cases 691,758 with death tally of 36,455.
Alberto Beltrame, President of Brazil’s National Council of State Health Secretaries said responding to the situation, “The authoritarian, insensitive, inhuman and unethical attempt to make those killed by Covid-19 invisible will not succeed. We and Brazilian society will not forget them, nor the tragedy that befalls the nation.”
As the Brazil health ministry website was scathed of all the data regarding COVID-19 cases on Saturday, there has been criticism coming from across Brazilian society of doctors, medical associations, and state government blaming the government of “controlling” the narrative of pandemic in country.
Under the Brazilian constitution and freedom of information law, federal prosecutors on Saturday have ordered an investigation into the matter, asking the health ministry to give justifications on the move within 72 hours.
Supreme Court judge Gilmar Mendes tweeted, “The manipulation of statistics is a maneuver of totalitarian regime. The trick will not exempt responsibility for the eventual genocide.”
The attempt to control the COVID-19 tally in the country began earlier last week as the health ministry delayed the release of daily tally from 7pm to 10pm.
Currently, Brazil is witnessing an average death tally of more than 1000 deaths per day due to COVID-19.
The pandemic fight cannot be won without science, transparency and required action. The act of controlling the number “representation” and manipulation of the situation are the trademarks of a totalitarian and dictatorial administration.
Bolsonaro has been long criticized regarding his outlook towards the pandemic, labelling it as a “simple flu.” He has been defying the orders of all his health ministers and WHO regarding social distancing protocols and has been flaunting his “no-mask” attire publicly. On Brazil’s high death tally, he has commented that “death is everybody’s destiny.”