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Brazil's coronavirus outbreak is now the fourth largest in the world

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro Source: AAP

The number of COVID-19 cases in Brazil has outstripped those in Italy and Spain, even though the country has done just a fraction of the testing done elsewhere.

Brazil's confirmed number of coronavirus cases has surpassed those in Spain and Italy, which were once the epicenter of the pandemic, making Brazil's outbreak the fourth largest in the world.

Brazil's Health Ministry on Saturday registered 14,919 new confirmed cases in the prior 24 hours, taking the total to 233,142, behind the US, Russia and the United Kingdom. Brazil has done just a fraction of the testing seen in those three countries.

The global distinction is likely to pile pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro, who lost his second health minister in a month on Friday as he defies public health experts and calls for widespread use of unproven drugs.

Mr Bolsonaro has been fiercely critical of the orders by many of Brazil's state governors for strict social isolation and quarantine to combat the spread of the virus, including the closure of schools, shops and restaurants.

Mr Bolsonaro argues that the toll on the economy is becoming unbearable and businesses must be allowed to reopen as soon as possible. The government now expects Brazil will post its biggest annual economic contraction this year since records began over a century ago.

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro Participates In Rally Against the Congress and the Supreme Court Amidst the Coronavirus (COVID - 19) Pandemic
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro participating in an anti-lockdown rally earlier this month.
Getty

Brazil's vice president, Hamilton Mourao, underwent a COVID-19 test and was placed in isolation at his official residence on Saturday, after a public servant who had been near him last week tested positive.

Mr Mourao, 66, will not fulfill official duties on Monday, when the results are expected. Mr Bolsonaro has undergone several coronavirus tests after ministers and other close aides tested positive.

Nationwide testing in Brazil still lags far behind European nations. Brazil had processed nearly 338,000 novel coronavirus tests in official labs by the beginning of the week, according to the Health Ministry. Another 145,000 tests were under analysis or waiting in line.

By contrast, Italy and Spain have each run some 1.9 million official diagnostic tests for the virus.

Brazil's Health Ministry on Saturday also reported 816 new deaths related to the virus, bringing the total to 15,633.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

Source AAP - SBS

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