Brazil has now second-highest number of Coronavirus cases in the world

WHO says South America a 'new epicentre' of pandemic; Africa tops 100,000 cases

Latin America's two largest nations - Mexico and Brazil - reported record numbers of infections and deaths nearly daily this week, fuelling criticism of their presidents, who have slow-walked shutdowns in an attempt to limit economic damage.

The state of Sao Paulo, the most populous in the country, has been the most heavily affected by the virus, with 5,773 deaths and 76,871 confirmed cases, followed by Rio de Janeiro, with 3,657 deaths and 33,589 cases, and Ceara, with 2,251 deaths and 34,573 cases.

The World Health Organization declared Latin America "a new epicenter" of the coronavirus pandemic as President Donald Trump ramped up pressure on state and local governments to speed up the reopening of the reeling American economy.

The country of 210 million people has had a disjointed response to the pandemic.

"In a sense, South America has become a new epicentre for the disease,"he said".

"In a sense, South America has become a new epicentre for the disease", said World Health Organization emergencies director Mike Ryan.

Nine African countries had 50 per cent increases in cases in the past week, while others have seen a decline or have stable rates, said Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergencies expert.

Whereas the U.S. stays the highest epicenter with greater than 1.6 million infections, South America has shortly overtaken different areas for the number-two spot, with the World Well being Group (WHO) warning of a dramatic spike in circumstances there.

Unlike in Europe and the United States, where the elderly were hardest-hit, in Brazil a significant number of deaths are among younger people, who are often driven by poverty to work despite the dangers.

Trump on Friday labeled churches and other houses of worship as "essential" and called on governors nationwide to let them reopen immediately this weekend even though some areas remain under coronavirus lockdown.

It was not clear whether he had any authority to override the governors.

But Trump has previously given his support to street protests demanding the end of lockdown measures.

France decided that it was safe to hold a delayed second round of municipal elections on June 28, and the Czech Republic said the epidemic remains contained there, two weeks after shopping malls, cinemas and restaurant terraces reopened.

The death toll - the sixth highest in the world - has doubled in just 11 days, according to ministry data.

"The seriously ill are building up".

Russian Federation moves down to third in the world for the number of coronavirus infections with 326,448 cases, including 3249 deaths.



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