Latin America emerges as new Covid-19 epicentre

Gravediggers carry a coffin during the funeral of someone who passed away from the coronavirus disease, in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Latin America overtakes US and Europe in new coronavirus cases three days in a row, CNN analysis shows

A large number of those new cases came from Brazil, which recently surpassed Germany, France and the United Kingdom to become the third-largest outbreak in the world, behind the United States and Russian Federation.

New coronavirus cases in China fell to zero on Saturday for the first time but surged in India and overwhelmed hospitals across Latin America - both in countries lax about lockdowns and those lauded for firm, early confinement.

Most of Brazil's cases are in densely populated Sao Paulo, but the highest rate of infection is in the state of Amazonas, at about 490 people infected per 100,000 population, he said.

"Our current clinical and systematic reviews carried out by the Pan American Health Organization, and the current clinical evidence, does not support the widespread use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 - not until the trials are completed and we have clear results", said Ryan.

"Being at the epicenter of this pandemic and in order to protect our flock, we advise that congregations remain closed until more accurate and uniform information is provided", said Bishop Paul Egensteiner, who oversees the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's congregations in the hard-hit New York City region.

Brazil pandemic

Brazil on Saturday confirmed 21,048 fatalities from coronavirus after 1,001 more deaths were reported over the past 24 hours.

Colombia's Ministry of Health also reported its biggest daily increases Friday, with 801 new confirmed infections and 30 deaths.

The United States has registered more than 1.6 million cases and almost 96,000 deaths, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The number of deaths in Brazil is now the sixth-highest in the world, behind the United States, Britain, Italy, Spain and France.

Grave diggers at a cemetery outside Sao Paulo are scrambling to keep up.

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In Europe, which has now registered more than two million infections, the figures were stabilising in many countries, prompting governments to move away from economically ruinous lockdowns towards lighter social distancing measures.

Neighbouring Peru was also struggling with an intense outbreak - the country of 32 million registering more than 110,000 cases and 3,100 deaths. "It doesn't stop", said one worker at Vila Formosa, wearing a white protective suit, mask and face shield.

Trump demanded state governors classify churches, synagogues and mosques as "essential services" on the same level as food and drug stores, and immediately allow them to hold services despite Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

"In America, we need more prayer, not less", said Trump, who counts religious conservatives as a core of his electoral base.

With no end in sight for the restrictions, sporadic anti-lockdown protests have been taking place across the world.

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Experts have warned that until a vaccine or treatment is developed, lockdown measures will persist in some form to prevent new waves of infection.

Britain confirmed Friday that it would impose a 14-day quarantine on global arrivals in addition to its ongoing social distancing rules.

Latin America's two largest nations - Mexico and Brazil - reported record numbers of infections and deaths nearly daily this week, fueling criticism of their presidents, who have slow-walked shutdowns in an attempt to limit economic damage. The city's health office said one is hospitalized.

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