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Brazil's Covid death toll tops 500,000: Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga

The country has registered more than 17.8 million Covid-19 cases

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FILE PIC: Health workers from Doctors Without Borders visit a squatters camp to conduct medical examinations and avoid the spread of the Covid-19 in Sao Bernardo do Campo, greater Sao Paulo area, Brazil. Photo: AP | PTI

Over 500,000 people in have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, informed Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga on Saturday.

"The pandemic, which struck our and the entire world, has claimed 500,000 lives. I am relentlessly working to vaccinate all Brazilians as soon as possible and change the scenario that has been tormenting us for more than a year," the Minister tweeted.

Queiroga expressed condolences to the friends and relatives of those who died due to the disease. The country has registered more than 17.8 million COVID-19 cases.

According to CNN, there is barely a person in today who hasn't lost a loved one to said local scientists, as the country reached the grim milestone of half a million deaths.

The South American nation, which holds half the continent's population, is being decimated by the virus. The 500,000 death toll is twice as high as it was six months ago, a sign that the mortality rate is accelerating, according to experts.

"In June of last year, we reached 50,000 deaths for Covid-19. In just one year we have multiplied this number 10 times. It's very scary," says Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, who in January predicted that the country would reach 500,000 deaths in July. "At the time, people thought that the number was exaggerated," he recalls.

The country has suffered from a slow vaccine rollout and staunch resistance to containment measures by the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, who has downplayed the gravity of the virus.

With no lockdown and just 11.4% of the population fully vaccinated, the country is considered a "barn of new variants" and is increasingly isolated from the rest of the world. To date, more than 100 countries are restricting the entry of Brazilians, according to the foreign relations ministry.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sun, June 20 2021. 07:57 IST