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Brazil overtakes Russia to become world no. 2 in Covid-19 cases, behind US

In Sao Paulo, the worst hit city, aerial video showed rows of open plots at the Formosa Cemetery as it rushed to keep up with demand

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Coronavirus | Brazil | Russia

Reuters  |  Rio De Janeiro 

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Photo: PTI
The true number of cases and deaths is likely higher than the figures suggest, as Latin America’s top economy has been slow to ramp up testing

became the world No. 2 hotspot for cases on Friday, second only to the United States, after it confirmed that 330,890 people had been infected by the virus, overtaking Russia, the Health Ministry said.

registered 1,001 daily deaths on Friday, taking total deaths to 21,048, according to the Health Ministry.

In Sao Paulo, the worst hit city, aerial video showed rows of open plots at the Formosa Cemetery as it rushed to keep up with demand.

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for his handling of the outbreak and is at the center too of a deepening political crisis.

The former army captain has seen his poll ratings drop, hurt by his opposition to social distancing measures, support of the unproven remedy chloroquine, and tussles with experienced public health officials.

ALSO READ: US plans massive Covid-19 vaccine testing effort to meet year-end deadline

The true number of cases and deaths is likely higher than the figures suggest, as Latin America’s top economy has been slow to ramp up testing.

The outbreak is accelerating. On Monday, overtook Britain to become the country with the third highest number of infections. It surpassed on Friday, but is unlikely to pass the soon. The world’s No 1 economy has more than 1.5 million cases.

Since the outbreak began, Bolsonaro has lost two health ministers, after pressuring them to promote the early use of anti-malarial drugs like chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Several high-profile public health experts have also left. Many have been replaced by soldiers.

On Wednesday, Interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, an active-duty army general, authorized new guidelines for the wider use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in mild cases.

First Published: Sat, May 23 2020. 23:21 IST
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