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Brazil's Bolsonaro 'failed' on coronavirus, says climate activist Greta Thunberg

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO, June 5 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has failed in managing the coronavirus crisis, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg said on Friday, a day after a record rise in deaths in the South American nation.

“The Bolsonaro government has definitely failed in tackling the coronavirus pandemic as many other governments have also done,” the 17-year-old Swede said on a video conference with journalists.

Brazil’s presidency declined to comment.

Bolsonaro has fiercely criticized measures to shut down non-essential businesses and keep residents indoors to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, saying the economic damage being done is worse than the health risk itself.

On Thursday night, Brazil’s Health Ministry reported 1,437 deaths from coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to more than 34,000 and surpassing Italy to become the country with the third-most deaths worldwide.

Thunberg was speaking during the launch of a crowdfunding campaign to buy medical supplies and provide telemedicine services to residents in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, where a lack of robust health services has made the disease devastating.

Governments around the world, including Brazil, have “failed to save lives and because of that we have seen many deaths that could have been prevented,” Thunberg said.

Thunberg has sparred with Bolsonaro before, with the Brazilian president calling her a “pirralha,” which roughly translates as “brat.” Thunberg responded by ironically changing her Twitter bio to “Pirralha.” (Reporting by Jake Spring and Stephen Eisenhammer Editing by Paul Simao)

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