Brazil has registered a record 100,158 new coronavirus cases within 24 hours, the Health Ministry says, underlining the scale of a snowballing outbreak that is becoming a major political crisis for President Jair Bolsonaro.
The record caseload on Thursday, along with 2777 more COVID-19 deaths, comes a day after Brazil surpassed 300,000 fatalities from the pandemic, the world’s worst death toll after the United States.
Brazil’s outbreak has set weekly records due to a patchy vaccine rollout, a lack of national coordination and an infectious new variant.
Critics, including senior lawmakers with ties to the president, are increasingly blaming Bolsonaro for his handling of the pandemic. He has drawn sharp criticism for his efforts to block lockdowns, scorn masks and sow doubts over vaccines..
Bolsonaro, who had questioned the “rush” to buy vaccines last year, has pledged to ramp up the country’s inoculation drive, targeting one million daily doses, compared with about 350,000 per day over the past week.
On Thursday, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes suggested the private sector could help speed up immunisations by buying supplies and donating them to the government. It was unclear whether the idea was viable in such a tight global market for vaccines.