Coronavirus: Brazil passes France in positive cases, becomes 6th worst-hit country
The Brazilian government confirmed 11,385 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing its total count to 188,974 cases of the coronavirus since the outbreak began. More than 13,000 people have died due to the virus in the country.
Brazil has registered a record number of new cases of the novel coronavirus, surpassing France's tally to become the sixth-worst hit country. This comes as the country's President Jair Bolsonaro tested negative for COVID-19 in three separate exams that were released to the public.
The government confirmed 11,385 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing its total count to 188,974 cases of the coronavirus since the outbreak began. Early on Wednesday, France revised its total number of confirmed and suspected cases down 0.3% to 177,700.
The pandemic has battered Brazil's economy as residents shelter at home and many state and local governments instructed most businesses to close to slow the spread of the virus.
Bolsonaro has locked horns with state governors for weeks over the lockdowns, saying they are causing more damage through lost jobs than the disease itself.
On Wednesday, the Economy Ministry predicted the Brazilian economy would contract 4.7% in 2020, the biggest annual fall since records began more than a century ago. The Ministry estimates every additional week of quarantine measures costs the economy 20 billion reais ($3.40 billion).
"It will reach the point where hungry people take to the streets," Bolsonaro said on Wednesday.
He escalated the fight this week by declaring gyms and beauty salons as "essential" services that can open for business, threatening legal action against local governments that don't comply.
Sao Paulo, Brazil's most populous state and with the most cases of the virus, will not comply with Bolsonaro's decree, Governor Joao Doria said on Wednesday, echoing comments made by at least 10 other governors.
The five countries that have registered more infections than Brazil are the United States, Spain, Russia, the United Kingdom and Italy. Brazil recorded 749 new deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the overall toll to 13,149.
BOLSONARO TESTS NEGATIVE FOR COVID-19
The Brazilian President underwent three tests between March 12 and March 17 after he returned from a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump in Florida and many in his entourage tested positive.
Supreme Court Justice Ricardo Lewandowski released the test results.
The release of the exams brings an end to a prolonged standoff in which Bolsonaro had refused to make tests public despite repeated legal rulings. The first request came from Brazilian newspaper Estado de S. Paulo and made its way up in the courts.
In the three tests released on Wednesday, Bolsonaro uses code names, but the ID numbers match his.
Bolsonaro handed over the tests to the Supreme Court.