Brazil's COVID-19 deaths surge past UK

Brazil's COVID-19 death toll overtook Britain's on Friday to become the second highest in the world with 41,828 dead.

The numbers second only to the United States.

Brazil's Health Ministry has reported more than 1,200 deaths a day since Tuesday, a mounting toll as the country looks to ease quarantine restrictions and reopen businesses.

It's a move called for by President Jair Bolsonaro.

The right-wing leader has minimized the gravity of the novel coronavirus, dismissing it as 'a little flu'.

He's accused state governments of exaggerating the number of infections and deaths to undermine him.

The World Health Organisation says there are hotspots in the major cities, but overall the country's health system is coping.

A recent poll showed 52 per cent of Brazilians now favour easing quarantine restrictions, with 44 per cent against.