April 2, 2021
1. Butantan and Fiocruz plan to deliver at least 27 million vaccines in April
At least 27 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be made available in Brazil this month. The estimate was made by Instituto Butantan and Friocruz, taking into consideration the products that do not depend on imports of raw materials. These vaccines are enough to immunize 13.5 million people, given the need to give people two doses. The Ministry of Health is considering a more conservative estimate and predicts 25.5 million vaccines this month.
Butantan, an institute of São Paulo’s state government, delivered 32.8 million doses of CoronaVac as of the end of March. In this same time frame, Fiocruz has delivered 5.8 million doses. One study shows that 17.6 million people in Brazil have already taken the first dose of the vaccine and 5 million have taken the second. So far, less than 10% of the country’s population has been vaccinated, but the pace of vaccinations is picking up: the average number of daily doses increased by nearly 200,000 to 592,000 between March 20th and March 30th.
2. Administration admits that supplies for hospitalized COVID-19 patients critically low
All Brazilian states and the Federal District have a “critically low” stock of drugs used to treat coronavirus patients who have been placed on ventilators. This assessment by the Ministry of Health was published on Tuesday. According to the administration, there was a rapid increase in the need for drugs due to the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stocks supplying the public health system will only last until the middle of next week.
The ministry said that it will receive additional medication through the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and that it is negotiating donations from Spain and a multinational company. The country is also in talks with the European Union, but none of these alternatives have been confirmed as of this week. Brazil has registered a number of records in daily COVID-19 deaths and over 321,000 people have already died. The number of people contaminated is over 12.7 million. President Jair Bolsonaro once again criticized lockdown measures, stating “We will not solve the problem by staying at home. Brazil has to go back to work.”
O Estado de S. Paulo: Governo alerta para risco de faltar remédios
Folha de S.Paulo: ‘Não adianta ficar em casa’, diz presidente
O Estado de S. Paulo: Brasil registra 3.950 mortes em 24 horas
G1: Leia mais notícias sobre a pandemia
3. Bolsonaro makes changes to six ministries in one day and gives nod to Centrão allies
On Monday, President Jair Bolsonaro made changes to six ministries, firing the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Justice as well as his Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Government, and the Attorney General – the last two who acted like ministers. Of those fired, former Foreign Affairs minister Ernesto Araújo was already under fire from congress, as well as members of the administration.
Centrão – the group of legislators belonging to the parties of PP, Republicanos, PTB, MDB, Solidariedade, DEM, PL, PSD, PROS, PSC, Avante and Patriota – are close to Bolsonaro and have received a nod with the nomination of federal representative Flávia Arruda (PL) to Secretary of Government, the department that deals with negotiations between the administration and the legislature. The group has from 170 to 220 votes and has among its members the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (PP). In this year’s federal budget, congress increased funds for departments controlled by Centrão by 224%.
Valor Econômico: Centrão assume coordenação política de Bolsonaro
Congresso em Foco: Bolsonaro prestigia Lira e Centrão com ministério
Folha de S.Paulo: Aliados comemoram avanço do Centrão no governo
O Estado de S. Paulo: Congresso ‘turbina’ orçamento para o Centrão
4. Military commanders fired after conflict with the President
Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force were fired following the appointment of a new Defense Minister. Their disagreement with the president probably led them to seek resignation. However, during a tense meeting with new Defense Minister, General Walter Braga Netto, they were fired following President Jair Bolsonaro’s orders. This is a first in Brazilian history.
Behind the scenes, the commanders said that they were not willing accept the pressure to have the armed forces show support to the government. The administration expected the armed forces to act against restrictions implemented to control the pandemic. Bolsonaro has been saying that lockdown measures in some cities and states are harmful to the country and that he could take more radical steps to keep commercial activities operating, such as declaring a State of Defense – in which the president can make unilateral decisions. He gave up on this idea following criticism.
Folha de S.Paulo: Cúpula militar deixa cargos após atrito com Bolsonaro
O Estado de S. Paulo: Ex-ministro e generais rejeitam ‘aventura de golpe’
Folha de S.Paulo: Com novo comando, presidente tenta superar crise
O Globo: Leia a repercussão da troca dos comandos militares
5. Brazilian GDP will be below Latin American average, says World Bank
A report from the World Bank published this week indicates that the Brazilian GDP will grow 3% by years’ end – a figure below the 4.4% average expected for Latin America as a whole. According to the document, Argentina (6.4%), Chile (5.5%), Colombia (5%) and Mexico (4.5%) will have more active economies, even though they performed worse than Brazil in 2020.
In January of this year, the World Bank had already projected Brazilian GDP growth of 3%. In Latin America, they increased this figure by 0.7% points to 4.4%. The second wave of the pandemic in Brazil is seen as a concern, with the situation indicating that inflation will be above average and that there will be an increase in poverty and indebtedness. Yesterday, the government announced a new round of emergency aid payments for lower socioeconomic individuals. The cost of the aid will total R$ 44 billion (USD $7.7 billion) and will be distributed to 45.6 million people.