Coronavirus engulfs Latin America as Brazil, Mexico report record surges in cases

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Brazil and Mexico on Thursday reported a record one-day rise in new coronavirus cases, just as leaders of both countries intensified attempts to reopen their economies even as the spread of the virus in Latin America is seemingly gathering pace.

Brazilian right-wing populist President Jair Bolsonaro and Mexico’s leftist leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have frequently swum against the tide of scientific opinion since the crisis broke out, first by playing down the threat of the virus and more recently by focusing on reopening their economies despite rising cases.

The surge in virus cases across chunks of Latin America comes at a time when other regions, especially Europe and China, are seeing a downward trajectory of new infections.

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Brazil, the hardest-hit country in Latin America, registered a daily record of 13,944 new cases, bringing its total to 202,918 confirmed cases of the virus and 13,933 deaths since the outbreak began, according to health ministry data.

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Mexico, the second most impacted nation in the region, reported 2,409 new infections on Thursday, to bring its total confirmed coronavirus cases to 42,595. An additional 257 coronavirus deaths brought total fatalities to 4,477.

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