Brazil overtakes Britain to become country with third-highest number of coronavirus cases behind US and Russia with 254,220 infections
- Brazil’s number of Covid-19 infections overtook Britain, Spain & Italy yesterday
- Experts say under-testing means death and infection figures could be far higher
- With 254,220 confirmed cases, Brazil is behind only the United States and Russia
- President Jair Bolsonaro has compared the virus to a ‘little flu’ and condemned the ‘hysteria’ surrounding it
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Brazil has the third-highest number of novel coronavirus cases in the world, according to official figures released yesterday.
With 254,220 confirmed cases, Brazil has now surpassed Britain, Spain and Italy in the past 72 hours on the list of total infections, and is behind only the United States (1.5 million) and Russia (290,000).
Brazil has registered 16,792 COVID-19 deaths, the sixth-highest toll in the world.
Last month, experts at two of the country’s leading universities said under-testing could mean the real figures were 15 times higher or more than those recorded by the Ministry of Health.
Healthcare workers wearing protective clothing carry the body of Laureano Ferraz, 78, a Wanano indigenous man who passed away due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), after arriving by an intensive care unit jet from Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira to Manaus, Brazil yesterday
The giant South American country of 210 million people is torn by a political battle over how to respond to the virus.
Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro compares the virus to a ‘little flu,’ condemns the ‘hysteria’ surrounding it and is urging the country to get back to work to stop an economic crash.
State and local authorities, however, are largely calling on citizens to stay home and practice social distancing – backed by the Supreme Court, which gave them the final say in the matter.
COVID-19 patients are treated inside a non-invasive ventilation system named the ‘Vanessa Capsule’ at the municipal field hospital Gilberto Novaes in Manaus, Brazil yesterday
Intensive care units in Sao Paulo are 90 per cent full and will hit capacity within two weeks, the mayor warned as he begged people to follow social distancing rules (pictured, freshly-dug graves at the city’s largest cemetery)
Far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro (centre) has faced criticism both at home and abroad for urging ministers to keep the economy open, despite risks from the virus
Bolsonaro is now seeking his third health minister since the pandemic began.
He fired the first after publicly battling over stay-at-home measures, and the second resigned last week after less than a month on the job, reportedly over the president’s insistence on widespread use of the controversial and unproven malaria drug chloroquine to treat the disease.
Hospitals in several areas are meanwhile operating close to full capacity, and the hardest-hit cities have begun burying victims in mass graves, even as the number of infections continues to soar.
The pandemic has meanwhile added to concerns about indigenous groups in the Amazon, since they have a tragic history of being decimated by diseases arriving from the outside world.
The virus has now infected 40 indigenous groups, with 537 positive cases and 102 deaths, according to the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples’ Association.
Brazil has an estimated 800,000 indigenous people from 300 ethnic groups.