Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stood firm in his opposition against a nationwide lockdown despite a surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

“There will be no nationwide lockdown,” Bolsonaro said on Wednesday 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 the pandemic.

“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 is necessary to provide healthcare professionals with the “tools to choose alternatives, such as treatments” for victims of Covid-19, the President added.

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’s overall caseload and death toll stood at 13,193,205 cases and 340,776, respectively.

The two tallies currently account for the second highest in the world after the US.