BRAZIL has recorded its worst ever coronavirus daily death toll with nearly 1,500 people killed by the bug in 24 hours – more than one every minute.
The South American nation now has the third highest number of cases, with 615,000 people to have contracted the virus.
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The country’s 34,021 Covid-19 fatalities is behind only the UK and USA.
During an online broadcast, before the startling figures were released, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro continued to attack efforts by the country's state governors and mayors to quarantine their cities and regions.
Bolsonaro urged businesses to wage “war” on state governors – arguing that their actions are crippling the country’s economy.
He said: “We can’t go on like this. Nobody can take it anymore.
“The collateral impact will be far greater than those people who unfortunately lost their lives because of these last three months here.”
The collateral impact will be far greater than those people who unfortunately lost their lives because of these last three months here.
Brazil’s rapidly rising death toll follows Mexico, which has suffered almost 12,000 coronavirus deaths in total, registering a record high of more than 1,000 deaths in 24 hours on Wednesday.
The figures are sending ripples of fear through Latin America’s largest economies, suggesting that the bleakest months could yet to come.
Chile is also fighting the crisis with 1,300 covid-19 deaths and has extended its quarantine in Santiago, the capital.
However, despite advice from medical experts, countries in the region are starting to plan for reopening.
Miguel Lago, the director of Brazil’s Institute for Health Policy Studies, believes taking such measures could lead to a spike in infections – causing chaos for hospitals already under pressure by the crisis.
He told the Guardian: “I am very worried … We are going to witness hospitals collapsing in almost every state
“I think the worst is still to come.”
On the comments of Bolsonaro, he added: “He doesn’t care about the lives of the Brazilians who will die because of his absolutely irresponsible behaviour”.
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