Harrowing images show mass graves being dug in Brazil as the country’s death toll increases.
A total of 1,001 people died yesterday from the deadly bug, and the South American country now has more infections than any other country in the world except the US.
A sobering video shows row after row of open plots ready to bury Covid-19 victims in the Formosa Cemetery on the outskirts of São Paulo, the most affected city in the country.
“We are losing the fight against the virus, that is the reality,” Dimas Covas, the director of the emergency center Covid-19 in São Paulo, told Reuters.
“The virus is currently winning the war.
Read our live blog here for the latest news about the coronavirus pandemic
“These days are coming, the holidays, I don’t see them as holidays, but I see them as combat days. The most important days in the fight against the virus.”
Brazil overtook Russia as the world’s second worst-hit country in the global pandemic, after coronavirus cases reached 330,890 on Friday.
The total number of deaths is now 21,048, according to the country’s health ministry.
However, the real figure is likely to be even higher as Latin America’s top economy has slowly started testing.
The country’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, is opposed to lockdown measures and has suggested that anti-malarials like chloroquine may fight the virus.
The drug has also been defended by US President Donald Trump – who announced on Monday that he is taking it himself – although no conclusions have been drawn about its effectiveness in treating Covid-19.
It comes after the Brazilian Supreme Court released a force-filled video in which Bolsonaro expresses his frustration for not being able to replace the senior members of the federal police.
According to the BBC, Mr Bolsonaro says, “I have tried to officially change our security people in Rio de Janeiro, but I have not succeeded. That is over. I will not wait for my family or my friends to get screwed.”
The president, nicknamed the “Trump of the Tropics,” continued, “If one cannot change the law enforcement officer, one changes the boss. If not his boss, then the minister.”
Bolsonaro has lost two health ministers since the pandemic began, after they were pressured to promote the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, another antimalarial drug.
On Wednesday, interim health minister Eduardo Pazuello adopted new guidelines recommending a wider use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
Brazilian Senator Humberto Costa, Minister of Health during the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said: “The government is not playing the role of a political leader uniting Brazil in this struggle.
“The government is sabotaging social distance policies and is even selling the idea of a panacea to solve this problem, which does not reflect reality.”