Brazil on Tuesday reported a record number of COVID-19 deaths just as the country's new health minister nominee pledged to continue the controversial policies of President Bolsonaro, who has downplayed the severity of the disease.

Iran Press/America: The initial comments by cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga, a day after he was tapped by Jair Bolsonaro, dashed hopes for significant change in course to curb a worsening pandemic that has killed over 282,000 people in Brazil, which already had the worst weekly death toll in the world last week.

On Tuesday afternoon, Brazil recorded 2,841 deaths for the first time.

Queiroga asked Brazilians to wear masks and wash their hands but stopped short of endorsing social distancing or lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus.

"These are simple measures but they are important because people can with these measures avoid having to shut down the country's economy," Queiroga said in a press conference together with outgoing Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, an active duty army general.

Pazuello was under pressure as fatalities surged, even though he toed Bolsonaro's line against lockdowns. He also backed the president's endorsement of anti-malarial drugs to treat COVID-19, the effectiveness of which is disputed by many health care providers.

Brazil has now registered 11,609,000 cases in all, passing India as the country with the second-worst outbreak.


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Brazil's daily death toll tops 2,200 for first time

Brazil's daily death toll tops 2,000 for first time