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Brazil sets another record for daily coronavirus deaths

Reuters/AFP/Rio de Janeiro
Filed on June 3, 2020
Brazil, record, number, coronavirus, deaths, 24 hours. health ministry
A woman looks on on a shop selling googles and protective face masks amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil June 2, 2020.

(Reuters)

Brazil is now the second-most affected country after the United States and its Covid-19 death toll is the fourth-highest in the world, after the US, Britain and Italy.

Brazil registered another record number of novel coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Tuesday evening, as the pandemic in Latin America's largest country shows no signs of slowing down.

The nation registered 28,936 additional cases of the novel coronavirus, the ministry said, and 1,262 deaths. There are now 555,383 total confirmed coronavirus cases in Brazil and 31,199 coronavirus deaths.

Brazil is now the second-most affected country after the United States and its Covid-19 death toll is the fourth-highest in the world, after the US, Britain and Italy.

Experts estimate the real number of infections could be up to 15 times higher than official figures, given relatively little testing across the vast country of 210 million.

In a worrying sign, Sao Paulo state on Tuesday recorded its highest daily figures for both deaths and infections, on the day when cities across the state began reopening shopping malls and offices.

Sao Paulo now has a total of nearly 120,000 cases with almost 8,000 deaths.

In Sao Paulo itself, Mayor Bruno Covas has put back reopening non-essential businesses until after June 15.

The other worst affected state, Rio de Janeiro, also began emerging from quarantine measures on Tuesday with beaches and businesses re-opening.

"In the current situation, relaxing the measures is adding gasoline to the fire," Rafael Galliez, an infections expert at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, told AFP.

The regional office of the World Health Organization warned Brazil on Tuesday against reopening "too quickly as there is a risk of a resurgence of COVID-19."

The health ministry said there was "no way to specify when the peak of deaths will occur" due to the country's size and geographic diversity.

The fresh record comes as some Brazilian leaders, including right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, continue to belittle the virus, warning that the economic fallout from quarantine measures will be worse than the virus itself.

"We lament all deaths, but it's everyone's destiny," Bolsonaro said in front of the presidential residence in Brasilia earlier on Tuesday.

Even in states and cities where leaders had previously instituted lockdown orders, authorities have been rapidly loosening restrictions in recent days, despite the number of daily new cases continuing to grow in most regions.


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