Brazil passes UK to record second highest coronavirus death toll

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Brazil has recorded 41,828 deaths during the coronavirus pandemic, surpassing the UK’s death toll, according to data.

The hardest-hit Latin American nation reported 909 deaths on Friday, with more than 828,000 confirmed cases.

The country now has the second-highest death toll from Covid-19 behind the US, figures from Johns Hopkins University show.

Activists dig symbolic graves on Copacabana beach as a protest against the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic
Activists dig symbolic graves on Copacabana beach as a protest against the government’s handling of the pandemic (Leo Correa/AP)

Brazil’s biggest city, Sao Paulo, is to free up space at its graveyards by digging up the bones of people buried in the past and storing their bagged remains in large metal containers.

The remains of people who died at least three years ago will be exhumed and put in numbered bags, then stored temporarily in 12 storage containers the city’s funeral service has purchased.

The containers will be delivered to several cemeteries within 15 days, a statement said.

Cemetery workers exhume remains buried three years ago at the Vila Formosa
Cemetery workers exhume remains buried three years ago at Vila Formosa (Andre Penner/AP)

Health experts are worried about a new surge after a decline in intensive care bed occupancy to about 70% prompted mayor Bruno Covas to authorise a partial reopening of business this week.

The peak of infection is predicted to hit Brazil in August, having spread from big cities into the nation’s interior.

Michael Ryan, the World Health Organisation’s emergencies chief, said: “Overall the health system is still coping in Brazil, although, having said that, with the sustained number of severe cases that remains to be seen.

“Clearly the health system in Brazil across the country needs significant support in order to sustain its effort in this regard. But the data we have at the moment supports a system under pressure, but a system still coping with the number of severe cases.”

Workers bury victims in New Delhi
Workers bury victims in New Delhi (Manish Swarup/AP)

India’s total caseload reached 308,993, the four-highest in the world, including more than 150,000 recoveries.

The government of prime minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown in late March. India’s caseload jumped by about 100,000 cases in a week, which coincided with the reopening of shopping centres, houses of worship and restaurants.

In the capital New Delhi, most public hospitals are full, and crematoriums and graveyards are struggling to manage a rash of bodies. Delhi’s government has projected that cases in the capital area alone could expand to more than half a million by late July, and is considering taking over luxury hotels and stadiums to convert into field hospitals.

Meanwhile, the largest wholesale food market in Beijing was closed behind police guard and the surrounding neighbourhood locked down on Saturday after more than 50 people tested positive in the Chinese capital.

Virus Outbreak China
A medical vehicle pulls away from the entrance to a building holding a beef and lamb market in Beijing that was closed by authorities (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

Authorities locked down 11 residential communities near the Xinfadi market, and police installed fencing to seal off a road leading to a cluster of apartment buildings.

Beijing officials said 45 workers at the market tested positive, though they showed no symptoms. That was in addition to seven earlier cases of people with symptoms who had visited or worked at the market.

Inspectors took 1,901 samples from meat, surfaces, dustbins, handles and other objects at the market, and 40 tested positive, the officials said.

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