Sao Paulo, Brazil: The Brazilian Senate will order a government investigation into the government’s treatment of the pandemic, as President Jairo Bolsonaro remains resistant even with new records of Covid-19 death.
Following requests from 32 of Brazil’s 81 senators, a judge from the country’s highest court ordered the Senate to create a commission for the investigation on Thursday.
After previously opposing the change, Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco eventually conceded to their demands at a press conference minutes after the judge’s decision.
Even as cases and deaths in Brazil rise, far-right leader Bolsonaro has defied medical advice on how to contain the pandemic, questioning face masks and vaccinations while doubling down on his resistance to lockdown measures as recently as Wednesday.
Brazil reported over 4,200 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours on Thursday, taking the country’s overall toll to more than 345,000, second only to the United States.
The investigation should concentrate on “the federal government’s behavior and omissions… especially with regard to the deterioration of the health crisis in the state of Amazonas, following the shortage of oxygen for hospitalized patients,” according to the judge’s decision.
Hundreds of people died in January in Manaus, the state capital when hospitals ran out of oxygen to treat Covid-19 patients.
Another setback for Bolsonaro came on Thursday when the Supreme Court ruled that regional authorities would ban in-person religious services, something he had strongly opposed.