It came after a third consecutive day of record increases in South America’s most populous nation, which is ranked second in the world with only the United States having recorded more cases.
President Jair Bolsonaro continued to play down the outbreak and was seen maskless on horseback shaking hands with supporters at a rally in Brasilia.
The crowd outside the government palace was heard chanting “Myth! myth! myth!” — echoing his dismissal of the virus threat. Brazil now accounts for around half of the million cases across South America and the Caribbean, which is becoming a worsening hotspot for Covid-19.
Chile said it had recorded 1,000 deaths after a sudden increase in the last two weeks and Peru has 4,500. Four of Bolivia’s nine regions have vowed to defy an order to lift containment measures today, instead extending them.
At the Vatican, Pope Francis prayed for the Amazon’s “particularly vulnerable” indigenous people in his first address in Saint Peter’s square in nearly three months.
Meanwhile, the US has sent to Brazil more than two million doses of a malaria drug controversially touted by President Trump as potential protection against the coronavirus and treatment of it.
The White House said it was also sending 1,000 ventilators.