Brazil, the worst hit country in Latin America, has overtaken Spain and Italy in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. The country announced close to 15,000 new infections on Saturday, 16 May, taking its total to over 230,000.
Brazil now has the fourth largest caseload in the world, next only to the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom. There are, however, fears that Brazil’s actual number of infections may be higher than recorded officially, as it had only done less than 500,000 tests as of last week. For comparison, Italy and Spain have done 1.9 million tests.
The recent surge in cases is likely to put pressure on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been fiercely critical of social isolation and quarantine measures imposed by Brazil’s state governors.
“Unemployment, hunger and misery will be the future of those who support the tyranny of total isolation,” tweeted the president on Friday, 15 May. On the same day, health minister Nelson Teich resigned from his position – the second time the position has been vacated in a month.