Brazilian Health Ministry on May 18 announced 674 new coronavirus infections, surpassing the United Kingdom in terms of the total number of cases recorded so far. According to figures by worldometer website, Brazil is now the fourth worst affected country in the world with 2,55,368 confirmed cases, just behind the United States, Russia, and Spain. Brazil has recorded 16,853 deaths to date with over 8,300 still under critical condition.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is facing a lot of criticism over his handling of the disease outbreak in the country. The right-wing leader has been demanding the reopening of the Brazilian economy and had earlier encouraged people to violate lockdown measures put in place by governors and mayors. Bolsonaro on May 1 reportedly said that he wants people to return to work and restart the economy, downplaying the coronavirus threat. Supporters of Bolsonaro and his policies took to the streets of Sao Paulo on May 17 to demonstrate against the lockdown restrictions put in place by states.
Brazil has seen two of its health minister resign since the pandemic began late last year, with the latest being Nelson Teich. Nelson's predecessor, Luiz Mandetta, was sacked by Bolsonaro on April 16 following a disagreement over social isolation measures, which the president felt was unnecessary. General Eduardo Pazuello has been appointed as the interim health minister of Brazil.
Sao Paulo is currently the worst-hit region in Brazil, followed by Rio de Janeiro, where according to health ministry data 4,823 and 2,852 people have died respectively. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 3,20,000 lives so far with over 4.89 million people infected by the disease worldwide. Health experts believe that the virus emerged from a seafood market in China's Wuhan city, where exotic animals were reportedly being traded illegally.
(Image Credit: AP)