The number of coronavirus deaths surpass 150,000 mark in Brazil

The number of coronavirus deaths in Brazil has passed the 150,000 mark, the nation’s health ministry says.

The South American nation has the second highest number of deaths after the United States and the third highest number of infections after United States and India.

The country also passed five million total infections earlier this week.

Right-wing President, Jair Bolsonaro has been accused of downplaying the risks of the virus throughout the pandemic, ignoring expert advice on restrictive measures.

In Brazil the state of São Paulo has been the worst hit.

However the daily number of new cases in Brazil has been slowly falling since it plateaued in the summer, when there were about 1,000 new deaths per day for two months.

Mr Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic – his decision to oppose lockdown measures and prioritise the economy – has been extremely divisive.

He has also been criticised for minimising the threat of Covid-19, including by calling it a “little flu”.

However, the president has repeatedly rejected this criticism, even when he himself became ill with the virus in July.

In August, Brazil’s Vice-President Hamilton Mourão also defended the government’s approach, and instead blamed a lack of discipline among Brazilians for the failure to limit the spread of the virus through social distancing measures.