BRASILIA: The Brazilian Senate on Friday approved a request made by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to declare a state of emergency.
The decree authorizes the executive branch to abandon meeting this year's fiscal goals in favor of fighting the health and economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus epidemic.
The senators voted on the measure in the country's first ever remote session, chaired by Antonio Anastasia, vice president of the Senate, who announced that the request was unanimously approved with 75 votes, with some senators unable to vote due to connection failures.
Anastasia led the vote after the president of the Senate, Davi Alcolumbre, was placed into home isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.
Upon approval, the decree was put into effect immediately.
According to the Presidency of the Republic, with the declaration of a state of emergency, the Brazilian government will be able to increase public spending and exceed the fiscal target set for this year, calculated at a deficit of up to 124.1 billion reais (about 24.5 billion U.S. dollars).
The Brazilian government pursued the declaration of a state of emergency as attempting to fight COVID-19 while trying to meet the year's fiscal goal could paralyze the country.
The bill was first approved by the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday and Rodrigo Maia, president of the lower house, created a commission to monitor government spending during the emergency.