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Brazil hits record high for new coronavirus cases

May 20, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Doctors and nurses work in the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the Emilio Ribas Institute of Infectious Disease hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Brazil reported Thursday the biggest daily jump in coronavirus cases yet as the pandemic shows no signs of slowing in Latin America's largest economy. Photographer: Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Brazil hit a record high for new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, after becoming the country with the third-highest number of confirmed cases in the world earlier this week. The country's health ministry reported 19,951 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 291,579 confirmed cases. This new surge tops the previous record set on Tuesday. Reported deaths caused by coronavirus also increased by 888 on Wednesday, bringing to the country's total to 18,859 deaths, the ministry said.

Sao Paulo, Brazil (CNN)Brazil hit a record high for new coronavirus cases Wednesday, after becoming the country with the third-highest number of confirmed cases in the world earlier this week.

The country's health ministry reported 19,951 new cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 291,579 confirmed cases.

Reported deaths caused by coronavirus also increased by 888 on Wednesday, bringing to the country's total to 18,859 deaths, the ministry said.

Amid the spiraling health crisis, Brazil's lower house of Congress has approved a proposed law that would make use the use of personal protection masks in public spaces mandatory.

Brazil's alarming numbers come days after Sao Paulo's mayor warned that its health system could be overwhelmed very soon if residents don't follow social distancing guidelines.

By Monday, Brazil achieved the grim record of having the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, behind the United States and Russia.

Teich clashed with Bolsonaro over the use of malaria drugs to treat the virus and social isolation measures.

Despite the political crisis, the populist leader continues to tout chloroquine as a potential wonder drug against the new coronavirus -- like his US counterpart Trump -- even though it is an unproven treatment for Covid-19.

Bolsonaro tweeted on Wednesday that there will be new guidelines to expand the use of chloroquine.

"Today we will have a new protocol on chloroquine" issued by the Ministry of Health, Bolsonaro wrote, calling it "a hope, according to the many who have used it. "

Brazil's medical authority approved the use of hydroxychloroquine -- which has been described as the less toxic derivative of chloroquine -- in April in serious cases of coronavirus if the doctor and patient agree.

Bolsonaro has since pushed for approval to use the drug in less serious cases.

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