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Latin America virus cases surpass 1 million

AFP
Brasília
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America have surged past one million on Monday. With more than half a million known infections, Brazil now has the second-highest caseload in the world, but its anti-lockdown President Jair Bolsonaro again defied social distancing recommendations on Sunday.
Wearing no face mask, the far-right leader met a tightly packed group of supporters in the capital Brasilia as the crowd chanted “Myth! Myth! Myth!” -- echoing his dismissal of the virus threat.
Bolsonaro has been a staunch opponent of lockdowns as a tool for containing the coronavirus, saying they are unnecessary and harmful to the economy, but he has faced intense criticism from worried state authorities and angry citizens.
Despite his scepticism, the virus rages on in Brazil and other parts of South America, with the situation in Chile, Bolivia and Peru also worsening.
Peru on Sunday reported 8,800 new COVID-19 infections, setting a new daily record for a country that already has the second highest number of novel coronavirus cases in Latin America after Brazil.
The death toll is now at 4,506, the third highest in the region -- itself the new hotspot of the deadly disease -- after Brazil and Mexico, with President Martin Vizcarra warning the country is only halfway through the crisis.
Infections have jumped in Peru despite a months-long mandatory lockdown and a nightime curfew and the government ordering international borders to be closed.
The spike is concentrated around the capital Lima, where one third of the population lives, and put tremendous strain on Peru’s economy and healthcare system.
Four out of every ten Peruvians lost their source of income when the lockdown began, according to one study, and last week Peru secured a two-year, $11 billion credit line from the International Monetary Fund.
In the United States -- the worst-affected nation in the world -- Washington and Los Angeles resumed outdoor dining, while New York City is on track to begin re-opening from June 8.