Brazil surpasses France in virus deaths

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Brazil has reported a record 33,274 new cases of new coronavirus, the death toll exceeding that of France, the country now ranking below the United States, Great 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 risen to 28,834 with 956 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the ministry said on Saturday.

Brazilian states are preparing to ease quarantine restrictions despite warnings from public health experts that the worst is yet to come.

Right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro downplayed the severity of the epidemic and criticized the bottlenecks for crippling the economy and causing widespread unemployment and hardship.

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