RIO DE JANEIRO, June 20. /TASS/. The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection in Brazil has surpassed the one-million benchmark, according to the health ministry’s official bulletin released on Friday.
In line with the updated figures, record 54,771 new cases of the infection were detected in the country in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall number to 1,032,913. A total of 1,206 people died of the disease in the reported period, with the total death toll being 48 954 as of Friday.
Approximately 507,200 people have already recovered from the illness.
The state of Sao Paulo remains the epicenter of the outbreak in the country, including its eponymous capital, home to more than 21 million people. The region has 211,658 infection cases and 12,232 fatalities. Massive outbreaks were also reported in the neighboring Rio de Janeiro (93,378 cases and 8,595 deaths) and the northeastern region of Seara (89,863 cases and 5,460 deaths, as well as 57,980 suspected cases). Shortly after the authorities announced the gradual removal of coronavirus-related restrictions there, the number of new cases started to grow, and the regional administration had to once again toughen anti-coronavirus measures for local residents and businesses.
Statistics on cases and fatalities also remains high in the north of the country, although the general pace of the infection in the region slowed down since June 10. The northern states of Para (80,072 cases and 4,469) and Amazonas (61,683 cases and 2,624 deaths) are the hardest-hit areas of the region.
The situation has slightly improved in the country’s northeast, while the spread of the infection is gaining momentum in central regions.
Brazil, where the first coronavirus case was confirmed on February 26, is ranked second after the United States for the number of COVID-19 cases. The South American country is in the fourth place after the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy for the number of fatalities from the coronavirus. The Health Ministry predicts that the situation would stabilize by July and in August the infection spread would begin to slow, and the cases would decline in September.
Rio braces for second wave
Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella announced that the metropolis with some 6,000 inhabitants was preparing for the second wave of the infection.
"Is it [the second wave] is possible? Yes, it is, especially if citizens gather in groups, if they don’t put masks on and don’t wash their hands. But we are ready," he said.
The mayor, who is a former cleric, compared the administration’s efforts to prepare for the second wave of the disease with Noah’s Ark.
"The ark won’t help us prevent the flood, only to survive it. This is exactly what we are doing," he said.