Brazil’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Health Ministry officials to restore previously available COVID–19 data to its national website after the Sustainability Network, Communist Party of Brazil and the Socialism and Freedom Party accused the government of withholding vital infection and death toll data.
Justice Alexandre de Moraes noted in his decision that Brazil must provide essential information to citizens to adequately protect public health.
“The data had been provided and publicized … allowing the necessary comparative analyses and projections to assist public authorities in decision-making and allow the general population full knowledge of the pandemic situation experienced in the national territory,” Moraes noted.
Moraes ordered the Attorney General of the Union to restore the COVID–19 data within 48 hours, noting that delaying the release of virus data would make it “impossible” to implement safety protocols.
The order comes days after health ministry officials removed virus data from the agency’s website, despite Brazil’s having the second highest number of cases (26,000) and third highest number of confirmed deaths (37,143) worldwide.
President Jair Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for ignoring World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, and has been accused of downplaying the pandemic’s severity for political gain.
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