Brazil’s death toll from COVID-19 second highest in the world

BRASILIA: Brazil’s death toll from COVID-19 has overtaken the United Kingdom to become the second-highest in the world after the United States.
In the US, several states have posted record daily case totals, signaling the crisis is far from over and fresh evidence of the economic damage caused by virus-related lockdowns.
Meanwhile, in several European countries, the focus shifted on might eventually be pinned with the blame for the global financial and health crisis.
Brazil’s health ministry recorded 909 deaths in the past 24 hours, putting the total at 41,828 meaning the country has now surpassed Britain’s death toll. Experts warn the actual number of cases could be many times higher than the confirmed figure of 828,810.
“Some areas are at a critical stage” in Brazil, with intensive care unit occupancy levels of more than 90 percent, World Health Organisation emergencies director Mike Ryan told journalists in Geneva.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who threatened last week to quit the WHO has dismissed the virus as a “little flu” and berated state officials for imposing lockdowns.
Latin America is the latest epicenter in the world’s battle with the novel coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year. The region has recorded more than 1.5 million infections and 75,000 deaths, with no signs the virus is slowing.
In the US, which has confirmed the most COVID-19 deaths, more than a dozen states, including two of the most populous, Texas and Florida, reported their highest-ever daily case totals this week.
“It’s important that we remember that this situation is unprecedented. And that the pandemic has not ended,” Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a media briefing on Friday.
US President Donald Trump and many local officials remain determined to get the world’s biggest economy back on track. The virus and resulting lockdowns have caused a spike in US unemployment as 44.2 million people have filed claims for jobless benefits since mid-March.
In Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the virus, prosecutors questioned Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte over his government’s initial response.
Europe is pushing ahead with its exit from lockdown, with a number of countries preparing to reopen borders on a limited basis on Monday after the EU Commission urged a relaxation of restrictions.
France said it would gradually reopen its borders to non-Schengen countries from July 1. Greece said it would welcome tourists again, though Britons remain barred and passengers from Italy, Spain and the Netherlands must undergo tests on arrival.
Germany said it would end land border checks on Monday. Italy said it would allow amateur contact sports from June 25. World health officials have warned that the virus is far from contained. “The fight is not over,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
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