1,001 more people have died from in the past 24 hours, bringing the number of deaths from the coronavirus to 21,048 in Brazil, according to the country’s Health Ministry.

The country has reported 332,382 confirmed cases, an increase of 19,969 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Brazil ranks second in the world in terms of total cases, behind the United States.

While at least 8,300 patients are being treated in intensive care units, more than 135,430 patients suffering from coronavirus have been discharged from hospital after being cured.

Sao Paulo, the country’s most-populated state, continues to be the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil. The state has so far reported 73,739 confirmed coronavirus cases, with at least 5,558 deaths.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro downplayed the risk of Covid-19 and likened the disease to a “little flu”.

Bolsonaro's handling of coronavirus pandemic and his demand on reopening economy have sparked criticism, with Health Minister Nelson Teich resigning last week.

He unveiled rules expanding use of chloroquine in the treatment of Covid-19, despite a lack of clinical proof that it is effective.

Coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have spread to Brazil on 25 February 2020, after a 61-year-old man from São Paulo who had returned from Lombardy, Italy tested positive for the virus.

The pandemic has triggered a variety of responses from federal, state and local governments, with an impact on politics, education and the economy. On 27 March Brazil announced a temporary ban on foreign air travelers, and most state governors have imposed quarantines to prevent the spread of the virus. (ILKHA)

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