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Coronavirus news: Brazil passes 1 million cases 

  • Coronavirus live news: Brazil passes 1 million cases 
    Brazil has become the second country in the world to confirm more than one million cases of Covid-19, as the disease continues to spread. Coronavirus live news: Brazil passes 1 million cases 
Region:
America
Category:
Society
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By EFE , AFP, France 24
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Brazil has become the second country in the world to confirm more than one million cases of Covid-19, as the disease continues to spread.

The health ministry also posted a record number of new cases in the past 24 hours - more than 54,000.

In addition, there were more than 1,200 deaths for the fourth consecutive day, taking the total to nearly 49,000.

A lack of testing suggests the true figures are higher and experts say the outbreak is weeks away from its peak.

Only the US has seen more infections. Brazil's poorest communities and indigenous people have been particularly badly hit by the pandemic.

President Jair Bolsonaro has been heavily criticised for his response to the crisis. The far-right leader - who initially described the disease as a "little flu" - has repeatedly clashed with state governors and mayors who have adopted strict restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, shutting down major cities.

Mr Bolsonaro argues that the economic impact of the measures will be much bigger than the virus itself, a position shared by many. But his overall approach to the crisis has led to the resignation of two doctors as health minister.

Jair Bolsonaro has long-admired Donald Trump and his way of doing politics. The two men have much in common - not least the way they've handled the pandemic in their own countries. The figures in the US are staggering - but Brazil, too, is frightening. They are now exclusive members of a club nobody wants to join.

Such a massive spike in the numbers - even if it was down to inaccurate reporting earlier this week - reveals how out of control the virus still is here. This, at a time when big cities are re-opening and people are returning to work. For a long time, there was a stand-off between President Bolsonaro and state governors - he was angry that they were imposing tough quarantine measures that he said would damage the economy.

But fast forward three months and that pressure from the top seems to have filtered down. With millions of people struggling and out of work, there is a desire to return to some kind of normality. But it feels like a dangerous plan - Brazil hasn't yet reached its peak.