The governor of Brazil's capital city, Brasilia, decreed a 24-hour lockdown for all but essential services on Friday to curb a worsening COVID-19 outbreak.

Iran Press/America: The drastic step came as right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly downplayed the gravity of the pandemic that has killed 250,000 Brazilians, renewed his attacks on state governors for destroying jobs with lockdowns.

"The lockdown will start today and be total, it will be 24-hours a day," said a press aide for the federal district's Governor Ibaneis Rocha. A decree published at the end of the day said the lockdown would start right after midnight Saturday.

Shops, pharmacies, gas stations, churches, and funeral parlors will remain open, the aide said, but everything else will shut down, especially bars and restaurants, which were blamed for increased spread during the end of last year and Carnival holidays.

Intensive care wards in Brasilia, the third-largest city in Brazil with 3 million inhabitants, are as full as they were at the peak of the pandemic last year, with more than 80% of the beds occupied, the health department said.

The global tally of coronavirus cases stands at 113,986,000. While 89,540,000 have recovered, 2,529,000 have died so far. The US, the worst-hit country, has 29,136,000 cases. It is followed by India, which has 11,079,000 cases, Brazil (10,457,000). 


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