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COVID19: Brazil overtakes Russia to become No 2 in world for virus cases

Brazil has confirmed quite 330,000 cases of the coronavirus, surpassing Russia to become the state with the second-highest number of infections, behind only the us .

The grim milestone on Friday came because the World Health Organization (WHO) called South America "a new epicentre" of the deadly virus, with the WHO's emergencies director, Mike Ryan, expressing most concern for Brazil.

"In a way , South America has become a replacement epicentre for the disease. we've seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases," Ryan told a virtual press conference .

"Clearly there's a priority across many of these countries, but clearly the foremost affected is Brazil at now ," he said.

Brazil registered 1,001 daily coronavirus deaths on Friday, taking the entire deaths to 21,048, consistent with the health ministry.

However truth number - of both cases and deaths - is probably going higher as Latin America's top economy has been slow to build up testing.

The price has doubled in only 11 days, consistent with the ministry's data. "The majority of the cases are from the Sao Paulo region," Ryan said.

"But in terms of attack rates, the very best attack rates are literally in Amazonas: about 490 persons infected per 100,000 population, which is sort of high," he said of Brazil's vast northwestern state.
Brazil's health ministry has recommended using the anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat even mild cases of COVID-19 - treatments President Jair Bolsonaro has pushed for despite the shortage of conclusive evidence of their effectiveness.

An analysis published on Friday within the medical journal The Lancet found that patients treated with the drugs had a better risk of death in comparison with those that had not been given these medicines.

Ryan stressed that neither hydroxychloroquine nor chloroquine has been proven to be effective within the treatment of COVID-19 - or in prophylaxis against the disease.

The two drugs are among a couple involved in WHO-coordinated clinical trials to seek out effective treatments for the disease. Some 3,000 patients are participating within the trials in 320 hospitals across 17 countries.

"Our current clinical and systematic reviews administered by the Pan American Health Organization, and therefore the current clinical evidence, doesn't support the widespread use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 - not until the trials are completed and that we have clear results," said Ryan.

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