Coronavirus: Bolsonaro says Italy's high death count because nation 'full of old people'

Italy "country full of old people" says Brazilian president.

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro said Italy's high death toll from the Coronavirus is due to the nation's aging population, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

"Italy is a city... a country full of old people" - said Bolsonaro - "There is at least one couple in every building, like in Copacabana, and that's why there are so many deaths."

"They have other diseases, but they say they die from Coronavirus. The Coronavirus that comes at the end does not kill them, those people are already debilitated", Bolsonaro is quoted as saying by Italian news agency Adnkronos.

Bolonsaro made his controversial remarks, reported by Brazilian media, when asked by reporters about the spread of COVID-19 and the measures to tackle it.

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His remarks have caused offence in Italy which on 18 March recorded the highest one-day death toll of any country affected by the Covid-19 pandemic: 475 deaths.

"We wish Brazilian friends, also those of a certain age, to never experience what Italy is going through" - said Andrea Romano, deputy of Italy's centre-left Partito Democratico and member of the foreign affairs parliamentary commission - "But we demand that the Brazilian presidency respects Italy and its suffering, refraining from delusional and offensive statements such as those of Bolsonaro."

The remarks by Bolsonaro, who recently annonunded on Twitter that his second test for Coronavirus came back negative, comes as Brazil prepares to enter a state of emergency, reports Reuters.