The number of coronavirus cases in the Latin American and Caribbean region has now surpassed 3 million. The region is the current epicenter of the pandemic, having reported more than 3,010,000 cases and 133,000 deaths.
Brazil accounts for more than half of the region’s COVID-19 cases.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro testing positive for the coronavirus shows that everyone is vulnerable and “exposed” to the disease.
“Nobody is special. We are all potentially exposed, and we are all equally vulnerable,” said the WHO’s director of health emergencies, Mike Ryan.
Bolsonaro has been one of the few world leaders to downplay the pandemic for months.
“Little flu,” “hysteria” and “over-dimensioning its destructive power” — this is how he has described the impact of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 1.6 million people and killed more than 66,000 in the country.
Bolsonaro has attended public events without wearing a mask and has hugged and kissed supporters with constant disdain for the disease.
“I confess that I thought I had contracted it a few months ago,” but “I did not expect this to happen to me,” said Bolsonaro, who has cancelled his schedule for the next few days and will remain in quarantine at home.
In the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, relatives of a man who died from the coronavirus left his coffin in the street for several hours to protest difficulties in getting him buried. People are trying to draw attention to the drama involved in waiting for days with the bodies of loved ones at home without the family being able to bury them because of overwhelmed cemeteries and crematoriums.
The country reported more than 40,000 COVID-19 cases and 1,476 deaths as of Tuesday.
Colombia’s lockdown will continue until Aug. 1, President Ivan Duque said in a broadcast late Tuesday.
In municipalities that have a low number of coronavirus infections, pilot programs will begin to test the reopening of restaurants, barber shops and theaters, Duque said.
Colombia has reported more than 120,000 cases and 4,452 deaths.
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