Grim coronavirus death tally comes as Sao Paulo state governor announces ‘code red’ restrictions to begin on Saturday.
Brazil’s Sao Paulo state has announced new “code red” COVID-19 restrictions, as the country registered a new single-day record number of coronavirus-related deaths for the second straight day.
The country’s health ministry said on Wednesday that 1,910 additional deaths and 71,704 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the past 24 hours.
It was the second consecutive day that Brazil registered a record high number of deaths.
Brazil has recorded more than 257,000 coronavirus-related deaths – the second highest tally in the world after the United States – as well as over 10.6 million COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has faced widespread criticism and protests over his handling of the pandemic, as the far-right leader has downplayed the threat of the virus and eschewed public health measures.
The government has also struggled to secure, distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccines.
On Wednesday, Sao Paulo State Governor Joao Doria announced that a two-week, partial lockdown would come into effect on Saturday in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
Bars and restaurants will operate only via delivery and malls and non-essential business will be shut, the governor told reporters during a news conference, but schools, churches, grocery stores and health services would remain open.
Doria said Sao Paulo state, which is home to 46.3 million people, has been receiving a new intensive care patient every two minutes and is “on the brink of a health system collapse”.
“This is your fault. It’s because of your denialism,” he said, addressing Bolsonaro.
“More than 1,000 people are dying every day in Brazil. It’s like five plane crashes a day… Many of the Brazilians who have been buried died because you didn’t do what you were supposed to: lead.”
Concerns have mounted over the surging pandemic in Brazil, where a more easily transmissible variant of the novel coronavirus was first discovered in Amazonas state late last year.
The health system in the Amazonas state capital, Manaus, was overwhelmed earlier this year amid a surge in COVID-19 infections and widespread lack of medical supplies, including oxygen.
Experts have warned that if Brazil is unable to control the spread of the COVID-19, it could become the epicentre of the mutation of the virus, which could potentially be more infectious and lethal.