Coronavirus: Brazil nears 50,000 deaths; experts fear real number to be much higher

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jun 21, 2020, 11:42 AM(IST)

Coronavirus in Brazil Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Brazil confirmed its first case for the novel coronavirus on February 26 and it crossed the one million mark on Friday, however, experts believe the numbers are higher due to lack of testing in the country. 

Brazil reported 1,022 new fatalities due to coronavirus taking the toll to 49,976,  the Health Ministry said on Saturday. 

Also read: China reports 26 new COVID-19 cases including 22 in capital Beijing

As the death-toll nears 50,000, the country has a total of 1,067,579 confirmed cases. Brazil is the second-worst hit nation in terms of coronavirus. The United States is the only country ahead in terms of both cases and deaths. 

Brazil confirmed its first case for the novel coronavirus on February 26 and it crossed the one million mark on Friday, however, experts believe the numbers are higher due to lack of testing in the country. 

The virus is spreading like a wildfire in the South American country, despite, denial of President Jair Bolsonaro. 

President Jair Bolsonaro, who has famously compared the virus to a "little flu," has clashed with state and local authorities over their use of stay-at-home measures and business closures to contain it.

The far-right leader argues the economic impact of such measures risks being worse than the virus itself and has instead pushed his health ministry to recommend chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as treatments, despite uncertainty about the anti-malaria drugs' effectiveness against COVID-19.

Bolsonaro threatened this month to quit the World Health Organization, accusing it of "ideological bias" against the drugs, and has ditched two health ministers since the start of the pandemic after clashing over policy differences.

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