Amid coronavirus outbreak, Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro was illuminated with images of continents and countries’ flags grappling with the pandemic. In a show of solidarity with other countries, the statue was lit up on March 18. According to international media reports, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, Brazil’s Chico Mendes Institute also ordered the closure of all the national parks and monuments it oversees, including the 125-foot tall statue.
As per reports, coronavirus cases in Brazil have also spiked in the last 36 hours with a top minister in the government testing positive for the disease. Brazil has reported almost 529 confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than half in Sao Paulo and the second largest in Rio. The deadly virus has also claimed four lives in the country.
The city of Sao Paulo and the state of Rio de Janeiro also announced a state of emergency and shut down all public places. Rio's main tourist attractions, the cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain also shut down in order to prevent the spread of the virus, mayor Bruno Covas told international media reporters. Rio has cut down its public transport by half and has advised people to stay at home.
The COVID-19 has claimed more than 9,200 lives across the world and has infected over 2,25,000 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China is the most affected country in the world as experts believe that the virus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. Italy, Iran and Spain are the most affected countries outside mainland China, where, as of March 19 the combined death toll stands at 5,029.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said on March 16 that the best way to combat the unprecedented outbreak of deadly coronavirus for all countries is to ramp up their testing programs. The WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a conference in Geneva that the ‘simple message’ he has for all countries is ‘test, test, test’. He further added that the countries will remain unsuccessful to tackle the pandemic if they fail to test all suspected cases and remain ‘blindfolded’.