South America

Brazil surpasses 100,000 coronavirus deaths

  RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) — Brazil on Saturday surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths and three million cases of infection, crossing the grim milestone after President Jair Bolsonaro said he had a “clear conscience” on his response to the outbreak. With 100,477 fatalities and 3,012,412 confirmed cases, the South American nation of 212 million people is the second hardest-hit country in the global pandemic, after the United States. The health ministry reported 905 new deaths in […]

Brazil firefighters race to contain wetland blazes

by Rogerio FLORENTINO, with Jordi MIRO in Brasilia PROCONE, Brazil (AFP) — A tractor cuts a firebreak through the vegetation of the Pantanal, the world’s biggest tropical wetlands, as firefighters race to contain the blazes that have been devastating one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth. The Brazilian Pantanal suffered a record 1,684 fires last month, triple the number from July 2019, according to satellite images. It was the worst month on record for […]

Recovered from virus, Bolsonaro says nothing to fear

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — Fresh off a bout of COVID-19, President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday nearly everyone will probably end up catching the new coronavirus, urging Brazilians to “face up to it” and saying there was nothing to fear. The far-right leader’s latest bid to downplay the pandemic came as Brazil closed in on the grim milestone of 100,000 people killed by the virus, the second-highest death toll in the world, after the […]

Brazil doctors volunteer to test coronavirus vaccines

by Florence GOISNARD / with Jorge SVARTZMAN in Rio de Janeiro SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — In Brazil, health care workers are on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic in more ways than one, treating patients but also volunteering to test some of the most promising experimental vaccines. Brazil is the country with the second-highest number of infections and deaths in the pandemic, after the United States, and the virus is still spreading quickly […]

Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 90,000

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — Brazil registered record daily numbers of infections and deaths from the new coronavirus Wednesday, sending its overall death toll surging past 90,000 people. Despite the record figures, the government issued a decree reopening the country to foreign visitors arriving by plane, ending a four-month travel ban in hopes of reviving a lockdown-devastated tourism industry. Brazil, which has been hit harder than any country except the United States in the […]

Tropical storm warning issued for Puerto Rico as cyclone approaches

MIAMI, United States (AFP) — A tropical storm warning was issued for Puerto Rico as still-forming Tropical Storm Isaias approached the Caribbean island, meteorologists said Tuesday. The storm is expected to touch down in Puerto Rico on Wednesday. The cyclone system is packing winds of 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), which has not officially named the storm yet and has identified it as “Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine.” […]

Latin America, Caribbean briefly overtakes N. America in virus cases

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Coronavirus cases in Latin America and the Caribbean surged on Sunday, briefly overtaking the total in North America, an AFP tally showed. As the worldwide case count passed 16 million, Latin America and the Caribbean recorded the highest number of infections, taking its total caseload to more than 4.34 million, according to an AFP tally at 2100 GMT, based on official sources. It was the first time the total number […]

Bolsonaro says he tested negative for COVID-19, two weeks after diagnosis

BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Saturday he has tested negative for the new coronavirus more than two weeks after being diagnosed on July 7, attributing his recovery to an unproven malaria drug. “RT-PCR for Sars-Cov 2: negative. Good morning everyone,” the 65-year-old tweeted, along with a photo of himself smiling and holding a packet of hydroxychloroquine, whose effectiveness against COVID-19 has not been demonstrated in clinical trials. He did not […]

Global virus infections pass 15 million, as Latin America cases soar

  by Joshua Howat Berger, with AFP bureaus Agence France Presse RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — The number of novel coronavirus infections around the world passed 15 million Wednesday, with Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the hardest-hit regions, notching more than four million cases. In the United States, home to over a quarter of global infections, President Donald Trump warned that the pandemic was likely to get worse before it gets better. […]

Brazil sets daily record of new coronavirus cases as nearly 68,000 new infections reported

BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) — Brazil recorded a new daily record of coronavirus cases Wednesday with nearly 68,000 infections, a sign COVID-19 is still far from being brought under control in the hard-hit country. The health ministry said 67,860 new infections and 1,284 deaths had been reported in the past 24 hours in Brazil, which has the second-biggest outbreak in the world after the United States. The South American country of 212 million people has recorded […]

Chinese COVID-19 vaccine starts final tests in Brazil

  BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) — A Chinese-made vaccine against the new coronavirus entered the final stage of testing Tuesday in Brazil, where volunteers received the first doses of what officials hope will be a game-changer in the global pandemic. The vaccine, developed by private Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech, became the third in the world to enter Phase 3 clinical trials, or large-scale testing on humans — the last step before regulatory approval. “We’re living […]

Hundreds of virus-infected bodies recovered from Bolivian streets, homes

  LA PAZ, Bolivia (AFP) — Bolivian police said on Tuesday they recovered more than 400 bodies from streets and homes over a five-day period, with 85 percent of the dead believed to have had coronavirus. A total of 191 bodies were recovered in the Cochabamba metropolitan area alone from July 15-20, with another 141 collected in La Paz, national police director Coronel Ivan Rojas told journalists. In the country’s biggest city, Santa Cruz, authorities […]