Quotes of fear, defiance and hope as the coronavirus pandemic spans the globe

Children at the riverside community of Menino de Deus, Brazil, on June 13, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Here is a selection of quotes about the global Covid-19 pandemic, which has infected 10 million people and killed nearly 500,000 people so far.


President Jair Bolsonaro

March 24: "With my history as an athlete, if I were infected by the virus I would not have to worry. I would feel nothing or, at most, it would be a little flu or a little cold."

March 29, after touring streets in the suburbs of Brasilia without a mask: "This is the reality: the virus is there. We have to face it, but face it like a man, damn it, not like a kid. We'll confront the virus with reality. That's life. We're all going to die one day."

April 28, when asked by journalists about the latest death toll: "So what? I'm sorry, but what do you want me to do?"


Prime Minister Boris Johnson

March 3: "But at this stage, and with the exception of all of the points I have just mentioned, I want to stress that for the vast majority of the people of this country, we should be going about our business as usual."

May 2, in an interview with The Sun newspaper after falling seriously ill and recovering from Covid-19: "It was a tough old moment, I won't deny it. They had a strategy to deal with a 'death of Stalin'-type scenario. I was not in particularly brilliant shape and I was aware there were contingency plans in place... The doctors had all sorts of arrangements for what to do if things went badly wrong."


Zhong Nanshan, head of team investigating coronavirus outbreak at National Health Commission

Feb 11: "We don't know why it's so contagious, so that's a big problem."

President Xi Jinping

Feb 23: "The outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia will inevitably have a relatively big impact on the economy and society... For us, this is a crisis and is also a big test."


Silvia Bertuletti, 48, from Bergamo in northern Italy. Her 78-year-old father died on March 19 from Covid-19

April 5: "My father was left to die alone, at home, without help. We were simply abandoned. No one deserves an end like that."

Riccardo Munda, a doctor near Bergamo

April 5: "What led to this situation is that many family doctors didn't visit their patients for weeks. And I can't blame them, because that's how they saved their own skin."

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

Feb 22, when 7 people have died and more than 280 infected in Italy. "Italy is a safe country for travel and for tourism, probably safer than many others."

March 4, when Italy closed all schools and universities as the virus had killed 107 and infected 3,089 people: "Our hospitals, despite their efficiency, risk being overwhelmed, we have a problem with intensive-care units."


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

June 8: "New Zealanders did something remarkable in our fight to beat Covid-19. We united in unprecedented ways to crush the virus."


President Vladimir Putin

April 8: "Everything passes and this will pass. Our country has gone through serious trials more than once: the Pechenegs tormented it, as did the Polovtsy - Russia coped with everything. We will also defeat this coronavirus infection. Together we will overcome it."

"I understand fatigue has built up as well as a serious burden of financial, domestic and other everyday problems. Your normal rhythm of life has been broken. For most people it is dreary and nauseous to constantly remain within four walls. But there is no choice now."


Defence Minister Margarita Robles

March 24: "On some of its visits (to nursing homes), the army has seen some old people, the elderly, absolutely abandoned if they were not dead in their beds."

Victor Pedrera, a doctor from a healthcare centre in the Spanish port city of Alicante

April 2: "I felt totally helpless, because more and more people with respiratory symptoms were coming... It was like a tsunami movie where you see the wave coming and no one is doing anything."


Arabia Mollette, emergency medical doctor in New York

"We're trying to keep our heads above water without drowning. We are scared. We're trying to fight for everyone else's life, but we also fight for our lives as well."

President Donald Trump

Jan 22: "We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine."

Feb 27: "It's going to disappear. One day, it's like a miracle, it will disappear."

April 23: "I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it'd be interesting to check that."


Pope Francis

March 27: "Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities. It has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air... We find ourselves afraid and lost."

"Healing people, not saving (money) to help the economy (is important), healing people, who are more important than the economy. People are temples of the Holy Spirit, the economy is not."

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