BRASILIA, Brazil — Brazil’s coronavirus curve steepened further a day after it overtook Russia to become the country with the second-highest number of cases.

The Latin American nation added 16,508 cases Saturday and said the death toll rose by 965.

Brazil now has 347,398 confirmed cases, trailing only the U.S. globally, from 330,890 on Friday. Still, its death toll of 22,013, up from 21,048 in the previous 24 hours, trails the U.S. and some of the most infected European countries, including the U.K. and Spain.

As the country shattered records and the contamination curve fails to flatten, President Jair Bolsonaro remains adamant about his crusade to reopen commerce and the economy, and to tout the malaria and lupus drug chloroquine even though there isn’t sufficient scientific proof to back it up for Covid-19. His stance has proved too much — two health ministers have resigned amid the pandemic. The ministry is currently being run provisionally by an army general.

Earlier on Saturday, Nelson Teich, who resigned last week as health minister after 29 days on the job, refused an invitation to act as a counselor for his replacement. In a Twitter post, Teich said that it wouldn’t be coherent to accept that one week after leaving the job.


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