Brazil senators to vote on damning Covid report

A Senate committee in Brazil is meeting to vote on whether to approve a damning report into the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic.

The report, which was presented in the Senate last week, recommends that President Jair Bolsonaro face charges, including crimes against humanity.

It is the culmination of a six-month inquiry which has revealed scandals and corruption inside government.

President Bolsonaro has said that he is “guilty of absolutely nothing”.

The report also accuses the president of misusing public funds and peddling fake news. In total, he could face nine criminal charges.

But Mr Bolsonaro has insisted that his government “did the right thing from the first moment”.

More than 600,000 people in Brazil are confirmed to have died from Covid, second only to the Covid death toll in the United States.

But even if the report is passed, there is no guarantee it will lead to criminal charges as the recommendations contained within it will have to be referred to the federal prosecutor.

The prosecutor will then determine if there is enough evidence to pursue criminal charges.

Whether charges are brought against him or not, there is little doubt that the president’s popularity has been dented by his handling of the pandemic.

In March, he caused outrage when he told Brazilians to “stop whining” about Covid, a day after the country saw a record rise in deaths over a 24-hour period.

He has continued to spread misinformation on social media and, on Monday, Facebook removed a video in which the president falsely claimed that Covid-19 vaccines were linked to developing Aids.

YouTube blocked the video and suspended Mr Bolsonaro’s channel for a week.

Brazil is readying itself for another week of political drama.

These past few months have unearthed scandal upon scandal and shone a light on the actions of a government accused of being reckless with the lives of hundreds of thousands of Brazilians.

Now, the 11 senators who conducted the parliamentary inquiry will have to vote on whether to approve its final report.

Despite divisions within the panel, the majority of the senators are critical of Jair Bolsonaro, so it’s expected to pass. -BBC

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