Brazil sets single-day coronavirus cases record as outbreak shows new signs of accelerating

·2-min read
Hearts decorated with the names of Covid-19 victims outside Congress in Brasilia to protest the high death toll (AP)
Hearts decorated with the names of Covid-19 victims outside Congress in Brasilia to protest the high death toll (AP)

Brazil has registered its highest-ever number of new coronavirus cases as the outbreak shows new signs of accelerating in the crisis-hit country.

More than 115,000 infections were identified over a 24-hour period, health ministry officials revealed - bringing Brazil’s total confirmed case load to 18.2million.

While the situation in the United States and most wealthy nations improves thanks to higher vaccination rates, Brazil and many South American neighbours are seeing their biggest outbreaks yet.

Brazil’s seven-day average for new coronavirus cases and deaths is now the highest in the world, having surpassed India last week.

Brazil marked the milestone of 500,000 Covid-19 deaths - the second-highest in the world - over the weekend with nationwide protests against the government’s handling of the pandemic.

The country has been slow to roll out vaccines with only 12 per cent of Brazilians fully immunised, according to Health Ministry data. Efforts have accelerated recently, with certain states such as Sao Paulo predicting shots for all adults by September.

President Jair Bolsonaro’s government is under scrutiny for delays and alleged misconduct in obtaining vaccines, having failed to respond to early offers from Pfizer last year.

The government instead struck a deal for more a expensive vaccine made by India’s Bharat Biotech.

A Senate committee is probing allegations related to Bharat amid a wider investigation of the government’s response. A Brazilian Health Ministry official told prosecutors he faced internal pressure from an aide to then-Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello to buy the Bharat shot.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Mr Bolsonaro’s Secretary of the Presidency Onyx Lorenzoni said there had been no influence peddling in the Bharat deal and the vaccines were not overpriced.

The Health Ministry did not respond to request for comment about the allegations.

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