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Brazil’s capital city on lockdown to quell coronavirus surge

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File photo: Brasilia, Brazil (Credit: Brazilian government)

Brazil’s Federal District, which includes the capital city Brasilia, will be put on lockdown in an effort to contain a growing surge of coronavirus, officials said Friday.

The new measures are similar to those taken in Brasilia during the first wave and requires the closure of all local businesses for in-person services, with the exception of essential services.

A decree issued by Governor Ibaneis Rocha added that schools in the region will be closed and alcohol cannot be sold after 8 p.m. Those who violate the lockdown risk a fine or criminal prosecution.

Brazil is facing a new wave of coronavirus with nearly 66,000 new cases and 1,582 new deaths reported on Thursday, making it the deadliest day of the pandemic. The seven-day average for daily deaths is also at the highest level since the outbreak began.

Rui Costa, the governor of Bahia, warned this week that Brazil’s health system could collapse as early as two weeks from now. He said his state had 1,000 ICU beds reserved for COVID-19 patients and, when 200 new beds were added, they filled up overnight.

“We are already seeing the problem worsen throughout the country,” Costa said, according to the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. “In Rio Grande do Sul, Bahia, Ceará, we have never seen a situation like this before.”

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