The novel coronavirus claimed 541 lives in Brazil over the past 24 hours, health authorities said on Monday.

The second-hardest hit by the virus worldwide, Brazil’s death toll from COVID-19 climbed to 94,104, while the tally of cases surged to over 2.73 million, including 25,800 infected over the past 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry.

The number of recoveries in the country is nearly 2 million.

With a population of over 211 million, Brazil is seen as the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Latin America.

Since first appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions. The US, Brazil, India, and Russia are currently the countries hardest hit in the world.

The pandemic has killed more than 689,000 people worldwide, with over 18 million confirmed cases, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 10.7 million people have recovered from the disease.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin

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