Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during a ceremony at the Sao Sebastiao neighborhood in Brasilia, Brazil April 5, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

SAO PAULO – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday stood firm in his opposition against a nationwide lockdown despite a surge in infections and deaths caused by COVID-19.

“There will be no nationwide lockdown,” Bolsonaro said in a speech in Chapeco, a city in the southern state of Santa Catarina where, like many other parts of Brazil, hospital service has collapsed since February due to a new wave of COVID-19 cases.

“We will not accept the policy of staying at home, closing down business, lockdown. The virus, like others, came to stay and will stay. It is almost impossible to eradicate it,” he said.

Instead, it was necessary to provide healthcare professionals with the “tools to choose alternatives, such as treatments” for victims of COVID-19, said Bolsonaro.

Brazil’s worsening outbreak has become a global concern, especially since more contagious variants of the coronavirus have emerged in the country’s northern Amazon region.

The South American country on Tuesday registered 4,195 daily COVID-19 deaths, raising the pandemic death toll to 336,947.