Brazil's COVID-19 cases surpass 5 lakh amid protests

The number of confirmed novel Coronavirus cases in Brazil has surpassed 5,00,000, while the country's COVID-19 death toll stands at over 29,000, even as citizens protest in different parts of the city.

In the past 24 hours, Brazil reported 16,409 COVID-19 cases, taking the total to 5,14,849, the Health Ministry said on Sunday. Brazil's COVID-19 death toll increased by 408 in the past 24 hours and now stands at 29,314.

On Sunday, hundreds gathered on the square near the Rio de Janeiro state government palace to protest against the crimes committed by the police against black residents living in city's working-class neighbourhoods, known as favelas, Al Jazeera reported. Several also shouted slogans in solidarity with the anti-racism demonstrations in the US.

A woman shouts slogans during a protest against the killing of black people amid the pandemic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday. Pics/AFP

"We are here today because we want to live. We are here today because we are tired of this genocidal state. We are here to say no more, no more!" Voice of America quoted activist Santiago as saying. On May 18, Federal Police broke into a house while allegedly pursuing drug traffickers, and shot dead a 14-year-old black boy.

Another protest was held in Sao Paulo where members of football fan groups protested against President Jair Bolsonaro. Groups supporting Bolsonaro had also emerged on Sunday and police used tear gas as the two groups neared a clash. The demonstration by football fans appeared to be the largest anti-Bolsonaro street march in months in a country that has become an epicenter of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic.

Bolsonaro himself turned out to meet backers in the capital, Brasilia, mounted on a federal police horse, without a mask. Meanwhile, the US has sent to Brazil over 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine touted by President Donald Trump as a potential treatment against COVID-19, even though scientists have indicated worse outcomes from taking it.

5,14,992Total no. of COVID-19 cases in Brazil

29,341Total no. of COVID-19 deaths in Brazil

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