Brazil records 50,163 coronavirus cases, 888 deaths in 24 hours
London, Sep. 5, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Brazil recorded 50 163 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as well as 888 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said on Friday.
Brazil has registered nearly 4.1 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 125 502, according to ministry data.
On Thursday, the country’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has consistently downplayed the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, reiterated that COVID-19 vaccinations will not be obligatory when they become available.
“Many people want the vaccine to be applied in a coercive way, but there is no law that provides for that,” Bolsonaro said in a Facebook live chat with his supporters.
Vice President Hamilton Mourão said earlier that mass vaccination was inevitable to fight the pandemic in Brazil, but was firmly in line with Bolsonaro’s stance.
“There is no way for the government – unless we live in a dictatorship – to force everyone to get vaccinated,” Mourão said in a radio interview.
Last month Brazil signed an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 30 million doses of the vaccine it is developing with Oxford University, with an option for 70 million more doses if the vaccine works.
Latin America’s most populous country has become a key testing ground for a COVID-19 vaccines and has approved phase 3 clinical trials for four that are under development, by Oxford University/AstraZeneca, China’s Sinovac Biotech, and Pfizer Inc in partnership with BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.