Brazil takes down COVID-19 data, hiding soaring death toll

07 Juin, 2020, 06:25 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro greets his supporters at the ramp of the Planalto Palace amid the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Brasilia Brazil

Brazil has the world's third-highest death toll but President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to pull out of the World Health Organization (WHO) over "ideological bias", following the example of the United States.

The number of fatalities stands at more than 34,000 - the third highest of any nation for COVID-19 deaths, surpassing Italy.

Sometimes called a "Tropical Trump", Bolsonaro has followed a similar script to the USA president in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, downplaying its severity, criticizing state authorities' stay-at-home measures and touting the purported effects of the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19.

When asked about Brazil's efforts to loose social distancing orders despite the increasing death rates, World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris said a key criteria for lifting lockdowns was slowing transmission.

Brazil recorded 1,349 deaths in a single day Thursday - only the USA and the United Kingdom have declared more COVID-19 related deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

While the U.S.is one of the biggest funders of the WHO, Brazil already stopped paying contributions in 2019 and owes 33 million dollars to the organisation, according to the newspaper Folha de S Paulo.

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"The epidemic, the outbreak, in Latin America is deeply, deeply concerning", Margaret Harris told a news conference.

Brazil is one of the hardest-hit countries in the world by the Coronavirus pandemic.

US President Donald Trump, an ideological ally of Bolsonaro, said last month that Washington would end its own relationship with the World Health Organization, accusing the organisation of becoming a puppet of China, where the coronavirus first emerged.

Brazil has reported nearly 615,000 coronavirus cases. Bolsonaro has openly admitted that the country's economic costs outweigh public health risks.

More than 646,000 infections have been recorded, and more than 35,000 people have died from the virus so far.

Most Latin American leaders have taken the pandemic more seriously than Bolsonaro, but some politicians who backed strict lockdowns in March and April are pushing to open economies back up as hunger and poverty grow. It comes as Brazil's Covid-19 cases surges past 600,000.

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