Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been criticized for his handling of the global pandemic, told the UN General Assembly that Covid-19 "caught everyone by surprise" in 2020.
"I have always advocated that we should fight the virus, and unemployment at the same time, and with the same sense of responsibility," he said, reports the CNN.
Bolsonaro, who is unvaccinated against the virus, said lockdown measures "left a legacy of inflation, particularly in foodstuffs, all over the world."
"In Brazil, to cater to the needs of the low-income population, who were forced to stay at home by decisions taken by governors and mayors, people who lost their income, we granted an emergency aid of 800 US dollars to 68 million people in 2020."
The Brazilian president has publicly spoken out against lockdowns, receiving criticism from governors, such as São Paulo governor João Doria.
However, Bolsonaro said that by November this year, all citizens "who have chosen to be vaccinated in Brazil will be duly covered."
"We support vaccination efforts," he said, although he acknowledged his own government's lack of wider vaccine participation. "However, my administration has not supported a vaccine or health passport, or any other vaccine related obligation."