Brazil: Pressure against Covid-19 sceptic Bolsonaro mounts as infections and deaths break records

Brazil recorded 90,303 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as it continues to grapple with mounting coronavirus infections and deaths.

The health ministry said that 2,648 additional deaths were recorded over the previous 24-hour period, bringing the country’s total to more than 282,000 deaths, second only to the United States.

A day earlier, Brazil recorded additional 2,841 deaths, a single-day record.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is facing mounting pressure to get the surging pandemic under control as public discontent over his handling of the crisis is growing.

Earlier this week, the far-right leader named a new health minister , the fourth since the start of the pandemic last year.

Dr Marcelo Queiroga, a cardiologist, is replacing Eduardo Pazuello, an army general who had been criticised for not having any medical experience.

Bolsonaro, a COVID-19 sceptic who has eschewed public health measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing, earlier this week said Brazil is entering a “more aggressive phase” in its fight against the virus.

Meanwhile, a new survey found that most Brazilians disapprove of how Bolsonaro has responded to the COVID-19 crisis.

A poll released on Tuesday showed 54 percent of Brazilians view the president’s handling of the pandemic as bad or awful.

Brazil’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has also been plagued by delays, raising public anger.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro said he was “happy” to see protests in Brazil against social-distancing measures.

Demonstrations have taken place in recent days after some local and regional authorities imposed lockdown orders to try to stem the spread of the virus.

“Logically, I was happy,” Bolsonaro said in remarks broadcast on social media. “They show that the people are alive … we want our freedom, we want the world to respect our constitution.”