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World

Bolsonaro tests Covid +ve, global cases top 11.5 mn

Rio de Janeiro/Washington: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus' severity.

Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and speaking to reporters in capital Brasilia.

"I'm well, normal. I even want to take a walk around here, but I can't due to medical recommendations," Bolsonaro said.

The President has often appeared in public to shake hands with supporters and mingle with crowds, at times without a mask. He has said his history as an athlete would protect him from the virus, and that it would be nothing more than a little flu were he to contract it.

He has also repeatedly said that there is no way to prevent 70 percent of the population falling ill with COVID-19, and that local authorities' measures to shut down economic activity would ultimately cause more hardship than allowing the virus to run its course.

Cities and states last month began lifting restrictions that had been imposed to control the spread of the virus, as their statistical curves of deaths began to decline along with the occupation rate of its intensive-care units. Brazil, the world's sixth most populous nation, with more than 210 million people, is one of the global hot spots of the pandemic.

The overall number of global COVID-19 cases has increased to more than 11.5 million, while the deaths have soared to over 537,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

On Tuesday morning, the total number of cases stood at 11,590,195, while the fatalities rose to 537,429, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US accounted for the world's highest number of infections and fatalities with 2,935,008 and 130,277, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Hospitals rapidly approached capacity in Florida and Texas, and the Miami area closed restaurants again Monday because of the surging Coronavirus, as the US emerged from a Fourth of July weekend of picnics, pool parties and beach outings that health officials fear could fuel the rapidly worsening outbreak.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday acknowledged "evidence emerging" of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people.

"We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19," Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic at the WHO, told a news briefing.


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