Hospitals in Brazil’s largest city ‘near collapse’ as Covid-19 cases soar

The mayor of Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo, has said its health system could collapse as demand grows for emergency beds to deal with coronavirus cases.

Bruno Covas said the city’s public hospitals had reached 90% capacity and could run out of space in two weeks.

He accused those who flouted lockdown rules of playing “Russian roulette” with people’s lives.

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São Paulo is one of the country’s worst-hit regions, with almost 3,000 deaths so far.

On Saturday, Brazil overtook Spain and Italy to become the nation with the fourth largest number of infections.

The health ministry reported 7,938 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total above 241,000. Only the US, Russia and the UK have higher numbers.

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The death toll in the Latin American nation over 24 hours was 485, meaning that the total number of deaths is 16,118 – the world’s fifth-highest figure.

Health experts in Brazil have warned that the real number of confirmed infections in the country may be far higher than the official records, due to a lack of testing.

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Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has been strongly criticised both at home and abroad for his handling of the country’s escalating coronavirus crisis.

He defied global health advice on social distancing on Sunday when he posed for photographs with supporters and children in the capital, Brasília.

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