01:31 GMT26 May 2020
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    Although keeping a face mask on, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has continued to defy the key WHO rule to curb the spread of the novel virus - social distancing, as he mingled with the crowd during a recent rally near the presidential palace in the country's capital.

    Jair Bolsonaro, who has been continuously calling out the global quarantine measures, in opposition to his countries’ ministers and governors, eagerly joined in a genuine carnival atmosphere on Sunday, as people blew horns and let off fireworks here and there while protesting against the COVID-19 lockdown in Brasilia.

    In an online video, Bolsonaro greeted the crowd, welcoming the anti-quarantine demonstration in front of the presidential palace, which has become a regular event, with the president and supporters defying the across-the-board lockdown rules.

    "Above all (the people) want freedom, they want democracy, they want respect", Bolsonaro, who was wearing a face mask at the time, said, insisting that Brazilians would prefer to get the national economy back on track as soon as possible.

    "Chlo-ro-quine! Chlo-ro-quine!" chanted some of Bolsonaro's supporters, while others could be heard shouting "We want to work!”, as reported by Reuters.

    Bolsonaro has, meanwhile, been increasingly at odd with his ministers over the course to take amid the pandemic. On Friday, his health minister, Nelson Teich, resigned over the stand-off with Bolsonaro, who has been calling to end quarantines and make use of such drugs as chloroquine to curb the spread of the virus.

    Whatever the case, according to a recent poll quoted by Reuters, around two-thirds of respondents in Brazil regard quarantine measures as essential in the global battle with COVID-19.

    Health Ministry figures released on Sunday evening showed that 7,938 new cases were recorded over the weekend, with the total climbing to 241,000, while the death tally spiked in the Latin American country by 485 to 16,118. Brazil currently comes fourth on the list of countries worst hit by the coronavirus.


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