BRAZIL (Reuters) – Brazil reported a record 33,274 new cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, according to its health ministry, and the death toll has surpassed that of France and now ranks below the United States, Britain and Italy.
The South American nation has reported 498,440 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the start of the epidemic, a level of contagion just behind the United States.
The death toll in Brazil from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, has increased to 28,834, with 956 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the ministry said.
Brazilian states are preparing to ease quarantine restrictions despite warnings from public health experts that the worst is yet to come.
Brazilian right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro downplayed the severity of the epidemic and criticized the closings for crippling the economy and causing unemployment and widespread hardship.
Report by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Paul Simao
Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.