May 19, 2020 / 12:15 AM / 15 days ago

Brazil sees 674 new coronavirus deaths, world's third highest number of infections

A family member, Avelino Neto, reacts during the funeral of his father, Avelino Fernandes Filho, 74, who passed away from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil recorded 674 new coronavirus deaths on Monday, the Health Ministry said, and announced a total of 254,220 confirmed cases, overtaking Britain to become the country with the third-highest number of infections behind the United States and Russia.

There are now 16,792 people in Brazil who have died from the outbreak, the ministry said.

Its daily tally does not indicate that infections and deaths necessarily occurred in the past 24 hours, but rather that the records were entered into the system during that time period.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has lost popularity over his handling of the pandemic, but he retains a resilient core of support. Last week, Health Minister Nelson Teich resigned, becoming the second top health official to leave the post since the pandemic began.

General Eduardo Pazuello is the interim health chief and Bolsonaro is in no hurry to choose his replacement, sources say.

According to data from the Health Ministry, São Paulo remains the worst hit by the outbreak, with 63,066 cases and 4,823 deaths. Rio de Janeiro is in second place, with 26,665 infections and 2,852 deaths.

Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Editing by Chris Reese and Peter Cooney

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