ANKARA 

Coronavirus-related death toll in Brazil hit 15,046 on Saturday, more than all Latin American countries combined.

According to a running tally of the Johns Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus infections in Brazil has risen to 222,877 while it registered a daily record of 13,944 new cases on Thursday.

In all over Latin America and the Caribbean, the death toll nears 28,000.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, however, continues to put pressure on state governors and mayors to immediately ease lockdowns and reopen the economy.

He believes the economic devastation induced by coronavirus measures will cause abject poverty and more serious consequences for the Brazilians.

As coronavirus cases spike in Brazil, the country remains in the grip of a political crisis.

Health Minister Nelson Teich resigned Friday after less than a month in office because of disagreements with Bolsonaro’s relax approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teich, criticized by the populist president because he has not advocated the use of antimalarial drugs to combat the virus, held a news conference where he thanked Bolsonaro for allowing him to serve but did not indicate why he resigned.

Bolsonaro insists that antimalarial drugs should be applied even to patients with mild symptoms, while Teich only authorized it, as did former Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, for patients in a critical or terminal condition.

Teich took the job April 17 under pressure from the president to prioritize the economy above a health-driven lockdown.

After Teich’s resignation was announced, pot-banging protests were heard in different parts of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

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