Coronavirus: Brazil death toll rises by 909 to become world's second highest

More than 828,800 people have been infected in country led by president who has repeatedly downplayed risk of disease

Zoe Tidman
Saturday 13 June 2020 00:04
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Brazil‘s coronavirus death toll has overtaken the UK’s to become the second highest in the world after another 909 fatalities were reported.

A total of 41,828 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 in the country, according to health ministry figures on Friday.

Meanwhile, the UK’s death toll stood at 41,481 – making it the world’s third largest.

More than 828,800 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Brazil, which has become the epicentre of the pandemic.

The health ministry said 25,982 new infections had been recorded in the previous 24 hours.

A World Health Organisation official said the country’s current situation was of increasing concern – especially in cities.

Brazil‘s health system was “still coping”, although some intensive care units were at a critical stage and under heavy pressure with more than 90 per cent bed occupancy rates, according to Mike Ryan, the organisation’s top emergency expert.

The country overtook the UK to have the world’s second-highest death toll a day after protesters made symbolic graves on a beach in tribute to the tens of thousands of Covid-19 victims.

People critical of their government’s ambiguous response to a surging pandemic dug 100 graves overnight and stuck black crosses in the sand of Rio’s Copacabana beach on Thursday in a protest led by the NGO Rio de Paz.

“The president has not realised that this is one of the most dramatic crises in Brazil‘s history,” organiser Antonio Carlos Costa said. He also criticised Jair Bolsonaro for not showing solidarity with the suffering.

“Families are mourning thousands of dead, and there is unemployment and hunger,” he said.

However, not everyone agreed with the protest.

One man was filmed shouting as he tore crosses out of the sand.

Another man, who said his 25-year-old son had died of coronavirus, went around replacing the fallen crosses.

Mr Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far-right president, has consistently downplayed the gravity of the pandemic and pushed local governments to lift quarantine measures.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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