In the last 24 hours, there have been 106,000 coronavirus cases reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) – the most in a single day since the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, late last year.
Almost two thirds of these confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported in just four countries, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, referring to the US, Russia, Brazil and India.
“We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” Dr Tedros said as the global number of coronavirus infections passed 5 million, according to World-O-Meters.
A sharp increase in coronavirus cases in Latin America has led the WHO to state the Americas are now at the epicentre of the virus pandemic, having seen it travel through China and Italy.
The number of cases of COVID-19 in Peru and Brazil in South America are accelerating alarmingly. Peru’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 100,000, making it the country with the second highest number of cases in South America after Brazil, who had a staggering almost 40,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past two days.
Brazil’s health ministry released new federal guidelines recommending doctors prescribe chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which is being used by US President Donald Trump, to treat even mild cases of COVID-19.
Patients will be required to sign a waiver acknowledging they have been informed of potential side effects from using the anti-malarial drugs, including heart and liver dysfunction, retina damage and even death.
Brazil now has the third-highest number of infections from coronavirus in the world, with more than 293,000 people confirmed to have COVID-19, behind the US and Russia.
#Brazil is now the world’s fastest-growing coronavirus hotspot, accounting for 13% of all new cases globally in the past week. Just days after it overtook Italy & Spain in total number of cases, Brazil is poised to claim the No. 3 spot from UK. https://t.co/aRIUMRBy9T pic.twitter.com/hGonBjM7jT
— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) May 18, 2020
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has dismissed the risks of COVID-19, been contemptuous of testing and encouraged his population to go back to work.
People from Brazil and other South American countries can still fly into and out of the US, as can people from Russia.
Trump is deciding whether to ban flights from Brazil.
“I don’t want people coming in here and infecting our people. I don’t want people over there sick either. We’re helping Brazil with ventilators. We’re sending them ventilators,” Trump told reporters during a cabinet meeting at the White House, AP News reported.
The US has banned flights from China, Iran, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, the UK and Republic of Ireland.