It comes as the South American nation reached the grime milestone of 50,000 Covid-19 deaths earlier this week – with the death rate showing no sign of slowing down.

The bodies of coronavirus victims are being stashed in bin bags in Brazil as the bug wrecks havoc in the country
The bodies of coronavirus victims are being stashed in bin bags in Brazil as the bug wrecks havoc in the country
Containers outside a hospital hold up to 75 bodies
Containers outside a hospital hold up to 75 bodies

The coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the country since the outbreak began – with new footage from the Rio Nurses Union showing bodies stuffed into bags in hospital wards where other patients are recovering.

Other grim scenes, captured by CNN, show large containers placed outside a Rio hospital which hold up to 75 corpses.

Brazil now has the second-highest death toll in the world, overtaking Britain but still behind the US which has 123,707,

Experts fear that, as many lockdown restrictions ease across the country, the virus could continue to spread before the rate of infection is sufficiently reduced.

Pictures show beaches in Rio de Janeiro swarmed with thousands of sunseekers, while recent anti-government protests in major cities have also created enormous upheaval.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has faced heavy criticism for his handling of the crisis, after dismissing the virus as a “flu” back in March.

But the pandemic has tested Mr Bolsonaro’s popularity, with the health system overwhelmed in many parts of the country and a high proportion of the country’s nurses dying from the virus.

According to recent figures, 181 nurses have died in Brazil – the highest total in the world – while over 15,000 have contracted the bug.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has faced heavy criticism for his handling of the pandemic
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has faced heavy criticism for his handling of the pandemic

Mr Bolsonaro was reluctant to impose a lockdown from the start of the pandemic, instead pushing the benefits of chloroquine and anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.

The President has also been consistently critical of social distancing measures as well as wearing masks – openly flouting the rules at political rallies held in various cities across the country in recent weeks.

It comes as PAHO director Ms Etienne gave a damning assessment of Brazil’s handling of the pandemic earlier this week.

She said: “We are not seeing transmission slowing down.”

The health body has recommended Brazil and other countries in South America increase their social distancing and urged them to slow down the eagerness to ease lockdown measures.

South America is now at the centre of the pandemic – which emerged in China in late 2019.

And World Health Organisation director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned the pandemic was now entering a “new and dangerous” stage despite countries in Europe and Asia beginning to relax strict lockdown measures.

 

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