On Thursday, Brazil’s health ministry reported a daily record of 1,473 fatalities, taking its death toll to more 34,021. The countries with higher death tolls than Brazil are the US, which has the most number of fatalities, followed by the UK.
Health officials urged regional governments not to end quarantine measures to avoid more cases, but regional leaders have pushed to lift restrictions and reopen their economies.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had downplayed the pandemic since it began, strongly criticising social distancing measures and encouraged regional government to lift restrictions for the sake of the economy.
“We were lucky that the pandemic did not his us first and that allowed us to prepare ourselves, that we did not lack beds, that all the sick could be hospitalised,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
His comments come after reports of morgues and storage rooms full of bodies, indicating the number of people who have died from the coronavirus could be much higher than official government figures.
According to Sky News, an anonymous government official said last month the actual mortality rate was at least five times higher than the figures published by the government.
In Rio de Janeiro, which has been hit hard by the outbreak, the mayor allowed over 10,000 street vendors to go back to work on Thursday. According to John Hopkins University, there are over 60,932 positive coronavirus cases in the city, with 6,327 deaths.
Additional reporting by Reuters