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Brazil records deadliest day yet as coronavirus cases surge

Brazil has recorded its deadliest day yet from the coronavirus with 881 confirmed deaths in 24 hours and confirmed cases exceeding Germany’s, as President Jair Bolsonaro fought states over his push to ease lockdown restrictions. 

Brazil’s health ministry confirmed a minimum of 12,400 deaths from the virus as of Tuesday, while the amount of cases hit 177,589, passing Germany’s 170,508 cases and approaching to France, which has reported 178,225 confirmed and probable cases.

Europe is starting to lift lockdowns because the price within the region eases, but the outbreak remains accelerating in Brazil, where Bolsonaro has played down the risks of the disease and criticised state governments’ isolation orders.

Bolsonaro in the week ratcheted up his dispute with state governors, with a decree classifying businesses like gyms and hair salons as “essential” services, making them exempt from lockdowns.

The right-wing president has argued that the economic damage from closing businesses is worse than the disease.

“Governors who don’t accept as true with the decree can file lawsuits in court,” Bolsonaro wrote on social media. He later threatened to require his own action against them if they didn’t comply.

At least 10 governors said they might not follow the decree.

“Bolsonaro is walking toward the precipice and needs to require all folks with him,” Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel said on Twitter.

Bolsonaro, who called the virus a “little flu,” has insisted for quite a month that governors are stoking economic carnage with voluntary quarantine recommendations and has urged Brazilians to travel about their daily lives.

Bolsonaro’s popularity has suffered since the crisis began, polls show. Disapproval of the president rose to quite 55 percent during a survey released on Tuesday, from 47 percent in January.

An investigation authorised by the Supreme Court into Bolsonaro’s alleged efforts to poke into police investigations has also eroded his support and distracted from the country’s pandemic response.

Bolsonaro won election in 2018 on pledges to wash up politics and make sweeping market-friendly reforms to revive economic process after a deep recession – plans derailed by the pandemic.

Sources told Reuters press agency the govt would soon slash its 2020 economic outlook, predicting a quite 4 percent drop by gross domestic product, after a previous forecast for flat growth.

Brazil has passed Germany in confirmed cases whilst its testing lags far behind both.

As of Monday, Brazil had processed nearly 338,000 novel coronavirus tests in three months at official labs, said the Health Ministry. Another 145,000 tests were under analysis or backlogged.

By contrast, Germany’s certified labs tested quite 330,000 samples last week alone and have the capacity to check around 838,000 samples hebdomadally .

France has also invested in testing to spice up capacity to approximately 700,000 tests per week.

A coronavirus mortality model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicts quite 88,000 deaths from the coronavirus in Brazil by August.

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