Brazil's Covid death toll tops 500K

Third pandemic wave hits as Brazil surpasses half a million Covid deaths

Anti-Bolsonaro protests held across Brazil as COVID-19 death toll tops 500,000

The latest update from his ministry said the toll is now 500,800, with 2,301 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Demonstrators take to the streets protest President Jair Bolsonaro's pandemic response in Brasilia on Saturday.

Brazil's health authorities say the death toll from the coronavirus topped half a million on Saturday. Only 15 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.

"Bolsonaro needs to show that he maintains significant support to give a message of strength to those who are investigating the actions of his government in Congress", Consentino said.

President Bolsonaro has been heavily criticised for not implementing a co-ordinated national response and for his scepticism toward vaccines, lockdowns and mask-wearing requirements, which he has sought to loosen.

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The opposition accuses the president of delaying the purchase of vaccines for political reasons, as he has consistently played down the severity of the pandemic.

Brazil has been registering close to 100,000 new infections a day, edging past India for the most in the world.

"Brazil faces a critical scenario of community transmission. with the possibility of worsening in the coming weeks due to the start of winter", Fiocruz, the public health institute, said.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga confirmed that the official death toll had passed 500,000.

Only the United States has reported more deaths related to Covid-19.

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© Associated Press Brazil is now seeing more than 2,000 deaths a day, and just 11% of the population is fully vaccinated.

"I think we are going to reach 700,000 or 800,000 deaths before we get to see the effects of vaccination", said Gonzalo Vecina, former head of Brazilian health regulator Anvisa, predicting a near-term acceleration in fatalities.

"There are 500,000 deaths, and unfortunately, it will continue to increase because it will take some time to increase vaccination coverage". Pharmaceutical maker Pfizer said it got no response to early offers to sell vaccines to the government between August and November a year ago.

Former left-wing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said, "In a country that is a world leader in vaccination, 500,000 people have died from the diseases now being vaccinated". Many cities have struggled with insufficient number of doses.

In Sao Paulo, protesters dropped red balloons as a tribute to the victims of the virus Bolsonaro's supporters have taken more often to the streets over the past month, in large part because many agree with his dismissal of restrictions meant to stifle the coronavirus and anger that lockdown measures have hurt businesses. But he insists he has done all he can to buy vaccines from several countries.

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