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Coronavirus: Brazil reports over 1,000 deaths


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Coronavirus: Brazil reports over 1,000 deaths

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Subways in Sao Paulo have been disinfected Brazil has become the first country in the southern hemisphere to surpass 1,000 deaths with coronavirus.The South American country has recorded at least 1,068 deaths and 19,789 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.Most Brazilian state governors have imposed quarantine measures but President…

Coronavirus: Brazil reports over 1,000 deaths

Workers wearing protective clothing clean the entrance to a subway in Sao PauloImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Subways in Sao Paulo have been disinfected

Brazil has become the first country in the southern hemisphere to surpass 1,000 deaths with coronavirus.

The South American country has recorded at least 1,068 deaths and 19,789 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Most Brazilian state governors have imposed quarantine measures but President Jair Bolsonaro continues to challenge the restrictions.

Health officials say the outbreak is not expected to peak for a few weeks yet.

There is growing concern that the virus could spiral out of control, especially in poorer areas like favelas, crowded neighbourhoods where social distancing is hard to achieve and basic sanitation is lacking, the BBC’s South America correspondent, Katy Watson, reports from Sao Paulo.

There are also fears that Brazil’s indigenous communities could be devastated by an outbreak. Experts say they are more vulnerable because they have fewer natural defences to external diseases.

Image copyright
AFP

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President Bolsonaro has previously dismissed precautions against coronavirus as “hysteria”

Earlier this week, an indigenous teenager passed away in hospital in the northern state of Roraima, becoming the first person living inside an indigenous reservation to die.

Alvanei Xirixana, 15, was one of more than 20,000 members of the Yanonami ethnic group. They live mostly in large indigenous reservations along the Brazilian-Venezuelan border.

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Despite concerns, far-right President Bolsonaro has frequently clashed with state governors and his own health officials over coronavirus, describing their reaction to the “little flu” as “hysteria”.

He also argues that their restrictions on movements and business are creating an unnecessary drag on the economy.

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Media captionBrazil demonstrators bang on pots and pans

On Friday, he was filmed visiting a hospital and meeting crowds, choosing not to wear a face mask or gloves. At one point he wiped his nose and then shook hands with an elderly supporter.

The president’s actions have incurred political costs in recent weeks, with his popularity falling in opinion polls. Nightly protests have also been held in Brazil’s biggest cities, with residents banging pots and pans and shouting “Get out, Bolsonaro!”

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