Brazil has had more than 330,000 coronavirus infections, making it the third worst affected country in the world and the worst affected in South America.
It briefly overtook Russia as the world’s number two hotspot for Covid-19 before the European country recorded 335,882 infections this morning.
In Sao Paulo, the worst hit city, aerial video showed rows of open plots at the Formosa Cemetery as it rushed to keep up with demand.
Pictured: Brazil overtook Russia as the world’s number two hotspot for coronavirus last night when it recorded more than 330,890 infections. Rows of open plots at the Vila Formosa Cemetery in Sao Paulo
Brazil is the worst affected country in South America, which has been declared a new ‘epicentre’ for the disease by the World Health Organzation
Mass graves has been pictured at cemeteries across Brazil to house some of the country’s victims. Pictured: Recently dug graves lay empty at the Vila Formosa cemetery
The World Health Organization Emergencies Director Mike Ryan told a virtual news conference that South America is a new ‘epicentre’ for the disease.
Mr Ryan said: ‘In a sense, South America has become a new epicentre for the disease. We have seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases.
‘Clearly there is a concern across many of those countries, but clearly the most affected is Brazil at this point.’
Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been widely criticised for his handling of the outbreak and is at the centre of a deepening political crisis.
In Manaus, Brazil, mourning family members wearing face masks were seen looking at the graves of their relatives during a mass burial
An aerial shot showed a part of the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery where new graves have been dug in Manau, Brazil
The huge scale of the mass graves can be seen in aerial shots taken over Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus
Hundreds of mass graves were seen in Manaus, Brazil. Brazil is the hardest-hit South American nation in the coronavirus pandemic
South America is rapidly becoming the new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic after seeing case numbers soar, with Brazil reporting an average of 10,000 cases per day this month (pictured, a graph showing the daily infection totals of some of the hardest-hit countries)
While South America’s death totals still lag behind the rest of the world, they are rapidly catching up as cases increase. Brazil again leads the pack with more than 1,000 deaths reported in a day this week (pictured, a graph comparing daily death totals)
Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been widely criticised for his handling of the outbreak and is at the centre of a deepening political crisis
Patients infected with coronavirus are being observed by doctors at the Municipal Hospital of Caxias, city of the state of Rio de Janeiro
Since the outbreak began, Bolsonaro has lost two health ministers, after pressuring them to promote the early use of anti-malarial drugs like chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine
The former army captain has seen his poll ratings drop, hurt by his opposition to social distancing measures, support of the unproven remedy chloroquine, and tussles with experienced public health officials.
The true number of cases and deaths is likely higher than the figures suggest, as Latin America’s top economy has been slow to ramp up testing.
Since the outbreak began, Bolsonaro has lost two health ministers, after pressuring them to promote the early use of anti-malarial drugs like chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
Several high-profile public health experts have also left. Many have been replaced by soldiers.
South America reported the highest daily infection total of any continent on Wedneday, the first time it has done so during the pandemic
Former army captain Bolsonaro has seen his poll ratings drop, hurt by his opposition to social distancing measures, support of the unproven remedy chloroquine, and tussles with experienced public health officials
On Wednesday, Interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, an active-duty army general, authorised new guidelines for the wider use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in mild cases.
The WHO has said neither hydroxychloroquine nor chloroquine has been proven to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 or in prophylaxis against the disease, reported Al Jazeera.
Mike Ryan said: ‘Our current clinical and systematic reviews carried out by the Pan American Health Organization, and the current clinical evidence, does not support the widespread use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 – not until the trials are completed and we have clear results.’