Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says no more quarantine measures can be imposed on the country than those already in place to combat coronavirus because jobs are being destroyed and the poor are suffering disproportionately.
Speaking to Rede TV, Bolsonaro criticised self-isolation and other measures imposed by local authorities to limit the spread of the virus, a view that again appeared to put him at odds with Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mendetta.
Mendetta on Monday urged Brazilians to maintain maximum social distancing to ease the strain on the fragile health system and said 200 million personal protective equipment items would arrive from China next month.
"You can't impose any more quarantine than there already is," Bolsonaro said, adding the question people ask him most was when they could return to work.
Brazil's Senate passed a bill on Monday evening guaranteeing some of the country's poorest citizens income of 600 reais ($A187) month for three months, a package that could cost almost 50 billion reais.
According to Bolsonaro, all measures to combat the crisis could cost 800 billion reais, and the economy, which is expected to contract this year, could rebound and be back on track within a year.
Earlier on Monday, Bolsonaro had stepped up his stand-off with state governments, branding governors in the hardest-hit states "job-killers" and suggesting democracy could be at risk if the coronavirus crisis led to social chaos.
The right-wing populist last week warned that Brazil could break with "democratic normalcy," citing the risk of rioting and suggesting "the left" could capitalise on any chaos, without elaborating.
The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in 4579 confirmed cases and 159 deaths in Brazil.
On Sunday, Bolsonaro visited a market area outside the federal capital to stress the message that lockdown measures should be relaxed.
Twitter took down two videos from the tour of Brasilia, saying it violated its standards on health misinformation, and Facebook later followed suit.
Australian Associated Press
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