Brazil tops 10,000 deaths from COVID-19

May 10, 2020 07:43 am | Updated 07:43 am IST - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Pigeons sit atop a Christ the Redeemer statue, made from sand, with a protective mask on, at Copacabana beach, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 9, 2020.

Pigeons sit atop a Christ the Redeemer statue, made from sand, with a protective mask on, at Copacabana beach, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 9, 2020.

Brazil, the hardest-hit Latin American country in the coronavirus pandemic , has surpassed 10,000 deaths, according to figures released Saturday by the Ministry of Health.

The country has now recorded 10,627 deaths and 155,939 confirmed cases.

While Brazil's figures are high, scientists think the real toll could be 15 or even 20 times worse, given the country's inability to carry out widespread testing.

Sao Paulo, a state in southeastern Brazil with almost 46 million inhabitants, has seen more than 3,600 deaths and more than 44,400 cases.

Neighboring Rio de Janeiro state, home to more than 16 million people, follows with 1,653 deaths and 16,929 infections. Less populated states such as Ceara, Pernambuco and Amazonas already have around a thousand dead each.

Resisting pressure from President Jair Bolsonaro, who opposes isolation measures due to their impact on the economy, the governors of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states will extend the partial quarantine measures in force since March until the end of May.

After Brazil surpassed the 10,000 dead mark, Congress decreed an official mourning period of three days and asked Brazilians to follow health authorities' recommendations to reduce infection rates while the country prepares for "a safe and definitive return back to normal."

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