Brazil recorded its deadliest day to date against coronavirus with 881 deaths confirmed in 24 hours and confirmed cases exceeding From Germany, while President Jair Bolsonaro fought the states over his pressure to loosen the lock restrictions.
The Brazilian Ministry of Health confirmed at least 12,400 deaths from the virus on Tuesday, while the number of cases reached 177,589, exceeding 170,508 cases in Germany and approaching France, which reported 178,225 confirmed cases and likely.
Europe begins to lift blockages as death toll in the region decreases, but epidemic continues to accelerate in Brazil, where Bolsonaro has downplayed the risks of the disease and criticized the isolation orders of the governments of States.
This week, Bolsonaro intensified its dispute with state governors, with a decree classifying companies such as gymnasiums and hair salons as “essential” services, exempting them from blockages.
The right-wing president argued that the economic damage caused by the closure of businesses is worse than the disease.
“Governors who do not agree with the decree can sue the courts,” Bolsonaro wrote on social media. Later, he threatened to sue himself if they did not comply.
At least 10 governors have declared that they will not follow the decree.
“Bolsonaro is heading for the precipice and wants to take us all with him,” said Rio de Janeiro governor Wilson Witzel on Twitter.
Bolsonaro, who called the virus a “little flu”, insisted for more than a month that governors fuel economic carnage with recommendations for voluntary quarantine and urged the Brazilians to go about their daily business.
Bolsonaro’s popularity has suffered since the start of the crisis, polls show. Presidential disapproval rose to more than 55% in a poll released Tuesday, up from 47% in January.
An investigation authorized by the Supreme Court into Bolsonaro’s alleged efforts to meddle in police investigations has also eroded his support and diverted the response to the country’s pandemic.
Bolsonaro won the 2018 elections on promises to clean up politics and make sweeping market-friendly reforms to restore economic growth after a deep recession – plans derailed by the pandemic.
Sources told Reuters news agency that the government would soon reduce its economic outlook for 2020, forecasting a more than 4% drop in gross domestic product, after an earlier forecast of stable growth.
Brazil has overtaken Germany in confirmed cases, even if its tests are far behind the two.
Brazil had processed nearly 338,000 new coronavirus tests in three months in official laboratories on Monday, the health ministry said. Another 145,000 tests were under analysis or pending.
In contrast, German certified laboratories tested more than 330,000 samples last week alone and have the capacity to test around 838,000 samples each week.
France has also invested in tests to increase its capacity to around 700,000 tests per week.
A coronavirus mortality model from the University of Washington Institute of Metrology and Health Assessment (IHME) predicts more than 88,000 deaths from coronavirus in Brazil in August.