News World South America Brazil now has second-highest number of coronavirus cases after US

Brazil now has second-highest number of coronavirus cases after US

Cemetery workers in protective clothing carry the coffin of a COVID19 victim in Sao Paulo. Photo: AP
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Brazil has overtaken Russia to become the world No. 2 hotspot for coronavirus cases, trailing only the United States.

Brazil’s health ministry confirmed 330,890 people had been infected by the virus.

The country registered 1,001 new coronavirus deaths on Friday, taking total deaths to 21,048.

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

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

South America has become an epicentre of the pandemic with Brazil the hardest hit country, the World Health Organisation’s Mike Ryan said on Friday (local time).

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been widely criticised for his handling of the outbreak with his poll ratings dropping over his opposition to social distancing measures, support of the unproven remedy chloroquine, and tussles with experienced public health officials.

Two health ministers have resigned.

Now Mr Bolsonaro is at the centre of a deepening political crisis, after a video of a ministers’ meeting was ordered to be released by Brazil’s supreme court.

The video is likely to add more fuel to claims the President interfered in appointing leaders of the federal police for personal gain.

As well, Brazilian Environment Minister Ricardo Salles is recorded proposing the government push through further environmental deregulation while people are distracted by the coronavirus pandemic

-with agencies