Brazil surpasses France in Covid-19 deaths as toll hits 28,834

Emergency workers transfer an elderly Covid-19 patient to a hospital in Manaus earlier this month. (AP pic)

BRASILIA: Brazil on Saturday reached 28,834 coronavirus fatalities, authorities said, surpassing hard-hit France and becoming the country with the world’s fourth-highest death toll.

At the epicentre of South America’s coronavirus outbreak, Brazil also saw an increase of 33,274 cases in the past 24 hours – a new daily record, the health ministry said.

That number brings Brazil’s total caseload to 498,444, the second-highest in the world, lagging only behind the US.

Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro remain the hardest-hit states in Brazil in terms of sheer numbers, while per capita rates are higher in the country’s impoverished north and northeast, where health facilities are reaching capacity.

Brazil’s health ministry has indicated “there is no way to foresee” when the country’s outbreak will peak, and experts say the number of cases could be 15 times higher than the confirmed figure because there has been no widespread testing.

The pandemic is spreading across Brazil under a cloud of confrontation, as governors and mayors implement restrictive measures while President Jair Bolsonaro, who has pinned his hopes of reelection on a booming economy, has berated them for imposing what he calls “the tyranny of total quarantine”.

The US death toll now stands at 103,685. The United Kingdom, meanwhile, has a toll of 38,376 and Italy stands at 33,340, according to a latest count by AFP.

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