Brazil Reports Almost 70,000 New Covid Infections in Record Day
Brazil posted record Covid-19 deaths and cases, while also announcing further reopenings all the same.
Brazil, Latin America’s biggest nation and economy, registered some 69,000 new cases and 1,595 deaths. Both counts were all-time highs and push totals to 2.55 million infections and over 90,100 fatalities, although there are indications the daily tallies may include cases from past periods after local governments reported technical problems reporting into the national system.
The country’s response to the crisis -- no national guidelines, no standing health minister and a leader who has belittled the seriousness of the disease -- has been criticized by health experts, who warn the economy is reopening too soon while the disease still rages. But Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro argues the nation and its people can hardly afford to shut down after years of sluggish growth, sky-high unemployment and with little fiscal wiggle room to offset the economic fallout.
On Wednesday, Bolsonaro issued a decree in an extra edition of the official gazette allowing international visitors to come and go more freely by air. Foreigners staying for up to 90 days must present proof of health insurance covering the entire trip. Overseas flights into some states are still prohibited.
Brazil, a nation of 210 million with some states the size of France, has reported about 7,000 coronavirus deaths a week for the past two months as the pandemic moves from major urban centers inland and to poorer regions. Brazil added a million cases in under a month and is on pace to reach 3 million infections in the first half of August, according to estimates from PUC University in Rio de Janeiro.
The arrival of winter in the Southern hemisphere is affecting the progression of the disease, said Health Surveillance Secretary Arnaldo Medeiros. He also cited improved testing capabilities for higher case counts.
Elsewhere in Latin America:
- Mexico’s economy plunged the most on record in the second quarter, shrinking 17.3% from the previous period. A lack of major stimulus to support companies will contribute to Mexico posting the slowest recovery among Latin American economies, said Carlos Serrano, chief economist at BBVA in Mexico City.
- Test positivity rates fell to 11% in Chile after weeks of government efforts to better identify infections and manage social distancing in hot spots. The government decreed quarantines for three new municipalities on Monday.
- Paraguay will reinstate lockdown measures for two weeks in Alto Parana province, which borders Brazil, amid a spike in cases, the health ministry said. Health-care systems in Alto Parana are seeing a “high level of saturation,” the agency said.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.