Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll tops 10,000

Sao Paulo, May 9 (efe-epa).- An additional 730 Brazilians died of coronavirus overnight, the health ministry said Saturday, bringing to 10,627 the number of lives claimed by the illness in Latin America’s largest nation.

Confirmed Covid-19 infections climbed by 10,611 to 155,939.

Brazil is the sixth country in the world to see its death toll from the virus exceed 10,000. Only the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and France have lost more people to the disease, according to the independent tally kept by a team at Johns Hopkins University.

Nearly 40 percent of infected people in Brazil have recovered, the health ministry said in its latest bulletin.

The number of active cases is 83,627.

Sao Paulo state, which is home to roughly 42 million of Brazil’s 210 million people, accounts for more than a third of Covid-19 deaths in the country and upwards of half the current cases.

The pandemic is also having a major impact in Rio de Janeiro state, where 1,653 people have perished from coronavirus.

With hospitals in Rio city overwhelmed, authorities moved Saturday to activate a 400-bed field hospital set up inside the iconic Maracana soccer stadium.

Brazil’s health minister, Nelson Teich, said Saturday during a visit to Rio de Janeiro that officials at all levels of government are striving for “integrated action against the illness” and to provide for the “health needs of the population.”

In the northern state of Para, coronavirus deaths reached 578 Saturday, while the number of confirmed cases approached 7,000, prompting the regional administration to impose a strict lockdown in the state capital, Belem, and nine other municipalities.

The Rio de Janeiro suburbs of Niteroi and Sao Gonçalo plan to do likewise next week, as does Salvador, capital of the poor northeastern state of Bahia.

The Brazilian response to the pandemic has been uneven. The governors of Rio and Sao Paulo states moved quickly to lay down restrictions and have continued to extend those measures despite vociferous opposition from right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who dismisses Covid-19 as a “measly flu” and has repeatedly flouted social-distancing guidelines by mingling with his supporters on the streets. EFE


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