The epicenter of the global COVID-19 pandemic has moved to South America as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo recorded high numbers in coronavirus positive cases.

Iran PressEurope: “We’ve seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases and clearly there’s a concern across many of those countries, but certainly the most affected is Brazil at this point,” Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program, said at a news briefing from the agency’s Geneva headquarters, according to CNBC.

“In a sense, South America has become a new epicenter for the disease,” he said.

The majority of cases in Brazil are in the Sao Paulo region, Ryan said, adding that the states of Rio de Janeiro, Ceara, Amazonas, and Pernambuco have been affected as well. He said the WHO is actively providing assistance to the government of Brazil.

“In terms of attack rates, the highest attack rates are actually in Amazonas,” Ryan said. “About 490 persons infected per 100,000 population, which is quite a high attack rate.”

Brazil has more cases than any other country in South America, according to the WHO’s most recent daily situation report. Ryan said confirmed cases in the country are now approaching 300,000 and COVID-19 has now killed nearly 19,000 people in Brazil.


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