SAO PAULO (Reuters) — Brazil has registered a record for daily COVID-19 fatalities, with 2,286 people dead from the virus in the last 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry on Wednesday.
New coronavirus infections tallied 79,876 to bring the total in the year-long pandemic to more than 11.2 million, according to the Health Ministry.
The total death toll of 270,656 is the second-highest after the United States.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday that infection rates in Brazil are worrying, spurred by a new and more contagious variant known as P1, and called for much stricter public health measures.
“We are concerned about the situation in Brazil. It provides a sober reminder of the threat of resurgence: areas hit hard by the virus in the past are still vulnerable to infection today,” PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said in a briefing.
With a sluggish vaccination pace, Brazil has seen a sharp spike in cases and deaths.
The government of the state of Sao Paulo confirmed in a news conference on Wednesday a Reuters report saying the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd is effective against the P1 variant.
On Monday President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the gravity of the novel coronavirus and questioned the “rush” for vaccines, took part personally in a video call with executives at Pfizer, reaching a spoken agreement to buy its vaccine.
Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool
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