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Critics say Brazil’s President Bolsonaro manipulating virus toll

Critics are accusing President Jair Bolsonaro of manipulating the figures showing the spiralling coronavirus death toll in Brazil, after his government first stopped reporting the total number of fatalities and infections, and then released conflicting data.

Even as infections soar in Brazil, the latest epicentre in the pandemic, the health ministry has made a series of unusual moves on how it presents the numbers on Covid-19.

The ministry had been the most widely used source for nationwide virus statistics, which paint a grim picture of its impact on Brazil: officially, 37,134 deaths, the third-highest toll in the world, after the United States and Britain; and 707,412 infections, the second-highest caseload, after the US.

Last week, the ministry postponed its daily tally of infections and deaths by around two and a half hours, to just before 10:00 pm.

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