Amid the controversial policies of far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who has downplayed the severity of the coronavirus, the country has on Tuesday reported a record COVID-19 death toll.
Just as Brazil’s fourth health minister in the span of a year is set to start his new job, 2,841 deaths tallied on Tuesday is Brazil’s worst yet and last week, it led the world in fatalities.
The new record number of COVID-19 deaths dashed hopes for significant change in course to curb a worsening pandemic that has killed more than 280,000 persons in the Latin American country.
The new health minister nominee Marcelo Queiroga in his pledge to the government policies said ”policy belongs to Bolsonaro’s government, not to the Health Ministry. The Health Ministry executes the government’s policy.”
Queiroga asked Brazilians to wear masks and wash their hands but stopped short of endorsing social distancing or lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus.
The formal appointment of Queiroga, who campaigned for Bolsonaro in 2018 and served on his transition team, is expected on Wednesday.
Queiroga will begin by meeting with his predecessor, Eduardo Pazuello who was criticized for his lack of public health expertise, and rubber stamping Bolsonaro’s decisions.
Speaking on the importance of wearing face masks, Queiroga said in a press conference together with Pazuello, that “these are simple measures but they are important, because people can with these measures avoid having to shut down the country’s economy.”
Queiroga also endorsed the use of anti-malarial drugs to treat COVID-19, a treatment disputed by many health care providers.
In the span of a month last year, two ministers before Queiroga quit because they would not endorse anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine as a treatment.
India: Delhi Announces Lockdown As COVID Cases Surge
India’s capital city, Delhi, has announced a week-long lockdown effective today, Monday, after the city recorded a spike in number of infections that has now overwhelmed the city’s healthcare system.
Government offices and essential services, such as hospitals, pharmacies and grocers, are open during the lockdown.
Delhi recorded nearly twenty-five hundred cases of the coronavirus infections on Sunday alone.
India has been reeling from a deadly second wave since early April causing a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen supplies.
India has the fourth highest number of deaths after the United States, Brazil and Mexico – though, among a population of nearly one and a half billion.
Delhi state’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal says the healthcare system is at a breaking point, and if a lockdown is not put in place now, the country will be looking at a bigger disaster.
NCDC Confirms 26 New COVID-19 Cases
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says 26 new cases of covid-19 have been recorded in the country bringing the total number of infections in Nigeria to 164,233.
The data shown on its official twitter handle on Sunday say the new cases were registered in five states including, Ebonyi 10 cases, Kano-Two, Lagos nine, Osun-two Oyo-one and the Federal Capital Territory-FCT two cases.
So far, more than 154,000 persons have recovered from covid-19 and discharged from hospitals since the pandemic was reported in 2020.
NCDC has advised Nigerians to take responsibility to protect themselves, loved ones, customers, employees and society by disinfecting surfaces in their homes, shops and offices regularly to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in their communities.
Africa CDC Laments COVID-19 Vaccines Delay
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is in a dilemma over how the continent is going to continue coronavirus vaccination campaign. The CDC says it cannot predict when second covid-19 vaccines will arrive because deliveries are delayed,
The head of the Africa CDC John Nkengasong said on Thursday, many Africans who have received their first covid-19 vaccine do not know when they will get a second shot.
Africa CDC report shows Africa lags behind most other regions in covid-19 vaccinations, with just less than 14 million doses having been administered on the continent of 1.3 billion.
So far, the majority of the vaccines available in African countries have been delivered via the world health organization-backed Covax facility. Covax aims to deliver 600 million shots to some 40 African countries this year, enough to vaccinate 20% of their populations.
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