Rio brazil coronavirus beach
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: MTI/EPA-EFE/Fabio Motta

Cases of COVID-19 have been rising again in Brazil, pushing the country’s most populous state, Sao Paulo State, to resume tougher measures.

Brazil registered 21,138 new infections and 287 new deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, raising its national caseload to 6,335,878 and death toll to 173,120, the Health Ministry reported Monday.

The South American country managed to flatten the curve between September and November, but statistics rose again after lockdown measures were eased.

Brazil is one of the countries hardest hit by the novel coronavirus,

with the world’s second-highest death toll after the United States, and the third-largest caseload, only next to the United States and India.

Sao Paulo State, with 1,241,653 registered cases so far, ranked highest in Brazil in terms of caseload, accounting for roughly 20 percent of the national tally.

Hospital beds are being filled up across Sao Paulo, where deaths and hospitalizations respectively rose by 12 and 7 percent in the last week, local statistics show.

At the state’s request, Brazil’s Ministry of Health has allocated 3,570 more ICU beds exclusively for treating COVID-19 patients in 51 municipalities of Sao Paulo, said the ministry on Monday.

The state government also reimposed some pandemic lockdown measures to halt the resurging infection and hospitalization rates.

The move is aimed at improving “control of the pandemic,”

Sao Paulo State Governor Joao Doria said in his announcement.

Doria on Monday ordered shops, including bars and restaurants, to operate with a 40-percent maximum capacity and 10-hour daily time limits, essentially moving from the current “green phase” back to the tighter restrictions of “yellow phase” that were lifted since on Oct. 6.

Also on Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) voiced deep concern over a sharp increase in infection and fatality rates in Brazil.

“I think Brazil has to be very, very serious,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference in Geneva.

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Source: RIO DE JANEIRO, Xinhua

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