Brazil’s biggest cities start reopening as COVID-19 surges

SAO PAULO – Brazil’s most populous state, Sao Paulo, reported a record number of COVID-19 deaths for the second day on Wednesday, even as the metropolis allowed stores to resume business and was willing to reopen its shopping centers.

Sao Paulo, the epicenter of the pandemic in Brazil, has registered 340 new deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the state-confirmed death toll to 9,862, a quarter of the country’s total fatalities, the agency’s office said. governor.

That did not stop shoppers from going to the 25 de Marco shopping area, where about half of the companies were open on Wednesday. While stores deemed essential, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, have remained open, most stores in Sao Paulo have been closed since March.

Shoppers filled the streets. Shops are only allowed in people who wear masks and supply alcohol gel. Some took the temperature of the shoppers at the entrance.

“I’m scared because the virus is growing, but at the same time we have to go to work and buy things to sell, although always protected by a mask,” said Vanessa Pereira, a saleswoman.

The city’s shopping centers will open four hours a day on Thursday after they have agreed with the authorities to reduce public access as a precaution against the contamination.

In Rio de Janeiro, the second hardest hit Brazilian city, the malls announced by the mayor also announced Thursday as part of a planned relaxation of restrictions.

The decision to reopen stores has been advocated by Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has minimized the severity of the coronavirus outbreak and dismissed warnings from public health experts that the infection is still on the rise.

Brazil has 739,503 confirmed cases of infection, the world’s worst outbreak after the United States, and has suffered at least 38,406 deaths.

Earlier on Wednesday, Bolsonaro told an actress to “get out of here” after criticizing his reaction to the corona virus pandemic at a gathering of supporters outside his official residence in the capital, Brasilia.

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