Brazil sees early signs coronavirus spread is slowing

By Ricardo Brito and Pedro Fonseca BRASILIA/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The spread of coronavirus in Brazil could be about to slow, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday, amid reports the transmission rate has fallen below the key level and early signs of a gradual decline in the weekly totals of cases and fatalities. The cautious optimism comes despite figures again showing a steady rise in the number of confirmed cases and death toll in the last 24 hours, cementing Brazil's status as the world's second biggest COVID-19 hot spot after the United States.

Reuters August 20, 2020 06:10:18 IST
Brazil sees early signs coronavirus spread is slowing

Brazil sees early signs coronavirus spread is slowing

By Ricardo Brito and Pedro Fonseca

BRASILIA/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The spread of coronavirus in Brazil could be about to slow, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday, amid reports the transmission rate has fallen below the key level and early signs of a gradual decline in the weekly totals of cases and fatalities.

The cautious optimism comes despite figures again showing a steady rise in the number of confirmed cases and death toll in the last 24 hours, cementing Brazil's status as the world's second biggest COVID-19 hot spot after the United States.

According to ministry data, Brazil has seen a drop in the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases to 304,684 last week from a peak of 319,653 in the week ending July 25. The weekly death toll has fallen to 6,755 from a peak of 7,677 in the last week of July.

A study by Imperial College London, meanwhile, showed that for the first time since April, Brazil this week registered a transmission rate below 1, according to Brazilian media reports. A so-called "R rate" below 1 indicates that each infected person will infect less than 1 person, thus reducing the epidemic.

"In a way, it is a trend. We have to see how the disease behaves in the next two weeks to see if there is a significant drop," Arnaldo Medeiros, Secretary of Health Surveillance, told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.

He stressed, however, that the apparent slowdown is no reason to ease up on preventive measures such as wearing masks and social distancing.

Later on Wednesday, official ministry figures showed 49,298 new coronavirus cases and 1,212 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours.

Brazil has now registered 3,456,652 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 111,100, according to ministry data.

(Reporting Ricardo Brito and Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Sandra Maler and Aurora Ellis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.