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Brazil suffers record daily deaths
Brazil suffered a record 3,251 Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, as President Jair Bolsonaro prepared to address the nation after swearing in his fourth health minister since the country’s snowballing coronavirus pandemic began last year, Reuters.
The new record number of daily deaths underlines the scale of Brazil’s outbreak, which is spiraling out of control thanks to a lumpy vaccine rollout and a messy patchwork of public health restrictions that are pushing the country’s hospitals to breaking point.
Bolsonaro is under mounting pressure to control the outbreak, after repeatedly playing down the virus, sowing doubts about vaccines and fighting state and local lockdown measures.
On Tuesday, ahead of a televised national address, he swore in cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga in a closed ceremony, the Health Ministry said in a statement. Tapped by Bolsonaro on March 15, Queiroga replaces Eduardo Pazuello, an active-duty army general who has overseen most of the pandemic response.
It remains to be seen what path Queiroga will chart as health minister. Pazuello’s two predecessors both left government after clashing with Bolsonaro’s views on Covid.
Bolsonaro has gained international notoriety for his efforts to fight lockdowns, dismiss mask mandates and advocate unproven remedies such as hydroxychloroquine.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
I’ll be bringing you the latest global developments for the next while. As always, you can say Hi on Twitter @helenrsullivan.
Brazil suffered a record 3,251 Covid deaths on Tuesday, as President Jair Bolsonaro prepared to address the nation after swearing in his fourth health minister since the country’s snowballing coronavirus pandemic began last year.
The new record number of daily deaths underlines the scale of Brazil’s outbreak, which is spiralling out of control thanks to a lumpy vaccine rollout and a messy patchwork of public health restrictions that are pushing the country’s hospitals to breaking point.
Meanwhile the European Commission will tighten its export guidelines on Wednesday to prevent what it sees as an unfair one-way flow of vaccines, according to a draft seen by AFP.
Brussels has been infuriated that Britain has laid claim to vaccines produced at a plant in the Netherlands by AstraZeneca, while the UK-based firm falls short on deliveries promised to the EU.
More on these two stories shortly. Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:
- Anthony Fauci, the US’s top health official, said the AstraZeneca vaccine was likely to be very good, but that an independent review board assessing the jab’s efficacy “got concerned” that the data in its public statement “were somewhat outdated and might in fact be misleading a bit”, adding that the “unforced error” would only add to public doubts about vaccines.
- Norway is introducing new national measures to contain the pandemic, including a ban on the public serving of alcohol, and would postpone the introduction of a plan to reopen society, health minister Bent Høie has said.
- Poland is to announce new restrictions for the next two weeks by Thursday at the latest, prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, as the country braces for what could be a second Easter spent under a strict lockdown.
- The Dutch government is to extend its lockdown measures by three weeks until 20 April due to rising numbers of Covid-19 infections and hospital admissions, prime minister Mark Rutte said.
- Texas is to become the largest US state to make Covid vaccines available for all adults, with the drastic expansion for the state’s nearly 30 million residents beginning from Monday.
- Spain will on 30 March lift restrictions on arrivals from Britain that have been in place since December in an attempt to contain the spread of new strains of coronavirus.
- Vladimir Putin reportedly had his first dose of a Russian-made coronavirus vaccine in private, after months of delaying his jab, in an apparent effort to boost Russia’s fledgling vaccination drive.
- General practitioners in Australia have been told the Covid-19 vaccine rollout experienced “significant” week-one delivery errors, including a failure to send some shipments of needles to accompany the vials.
- German hotel owners are unhappy over an extension to measures that bizarrely bar citizens from going on vacation in their own country but allow them to travel abroad.
Source: The Guardian
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