Bolsonaro, who was the first to speak, said he did not understand why “many countries, along with the mainstream media” were opposed to early treatment for the disease.
In the speech, he also took a stand against the so-called health passport, which grants benefits to people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19. And he stated that there is no corruption in his government (read more below).
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have supported the physician’s autonomy in seeking early treatment, following the recommendation of our Federal Council of Medicine. I myself was one of those who underwent initial treatment. We respect the physician-patient relationship when deciding on the medication to be used and in its ‘off-label’ use [fora do que prevê a bula]. We don’t understand why many countries, along with much of the media, were against the initial treatment. History and science will know how to hold everyone accountable,” said Bolsonaro.
- Read the full text of Bolsonaro’s speech at the UN General Assembly
Early treatment, through the use of drugs such as chloroquine and ivermectin, has been advocated by the president since last year. However, scientific studies have already proven the ineffectiveness of these drugs against Covid. Furthermore:
- the World Health Organization (WHO) says that chloroquine should not be used as a form of prevention;
- the Brazilian Medical Association (AMB) says that the use of chloroquine and other drugs without efficacy against Covid should be banned;
- the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases (SBI) says that chloroquine has no effect and should be abandoned.
Bolsonaro also said he defended vaccination against Covid-19 and stated that, until November, all Brazilians who want to can be immunized.
However, he took a stand against restrictions adopted by countries against people who refuse to take the vaccine.
“Until November, everyone who chose to be vaccinated in Brazil will be assisted. We support vaccination, however our government has been against the health passport or any obligation related to the vaccine,” said Bolsonaro.
This is the third time that Bolsonaro speaks as president of Brazil – the country’s representative is in charge of officially opening the speech of world presidents since 1947.
US President Joe Biden speaks after Bolsonaro.
The Covid-19 pandemic is expected to dominate most speeches. In 2020, the General Assembly was completely remote because of the pandemic. This year, part of the leaders will speak in person and part recorded their participation.
On his return from the (semi) face-to-face event, Bolsonaro is the only one of the leaders of the G20 (group of the 19 main economies in the world and the European Union) present to say that he did not take the vaccine against Covid-19.
Newspapers in the United States and the United Kingdom reported that the Brazilian president participates in the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) without having taken the vaccine.
The UN headquarters where the meeting is held is in New York City, where proof of vaccination is required for people to enter public spaces that are closed (such as the lobby where the meeting takes place).
The city of New York asked that the heads of state be required to prove vaccination to enter the United Nations building, but the UN secretary general, António Guterres, said that the entity cannot demand this.
On Monday (20), the Minister of Tourism, Gilson Machado Neto, published a photo on a social network in which Bolsonaro and part of the Brazilian delegation eat pizza on the street, in New York.
Since August 16, the city requires that people present proof of vaccination against Covid-19 to attend closed places, such as restaurants, cinemas, theaters and gyms.