Covid-19: Brazil sees 3,000 deaths for the first time

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MANAUS, BRAZIL - MAY 19: Relatives wearing protective masks mourn during a mass burials of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, at the Parque Taruma cemetery on May 19, 2020 in Manaus, Brazil. Brazil has over 260,000 confirmed cases and more than 17,000 deaths caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by Andre Coelho/Getty Images)

Brazil’s regular Covid-19 death toll has risen beyond 3,000 for the first time as the hard-hit nation battled to control a flood in cases that has brought multiple hospitals to breaking point.

The health ministry reported a staggering 3,251 deaths in the last 24 hours, raising Brazil’s total death count to almost 299,000 – second only to the United States.

The new grim landmark fell on the same day President Jair Bolsonaro installed his fourth health minister of the pandemic, under pressure to shift course after downplaying the outbreak and flouting specialist recommendations on controlling it.

Cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga, 55, took over the post from Eduardo Pazuello, an army general of little medical training whose treatment of Covid-19 was highly criticised.

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