Bolsonaro says Brazil to issue new COVID-19 chloroquine protocol

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil's health ministry will issue new guidelines on Wednesday (May 20) expanding the recommended use of chloroquine for treating the COVID-19, President Jair Bolsonaro said, days after the health minister quit under pressure to sign the new guidelines.

Interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, an active duty army general, will sign the new protocol and stay in the top job for now, the president said in an online interview on Tuesday evening.

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Bolsonaro said he kept a box of the anti-malarial drug in case his 93-year-old mother needed it, noting US President Donald Trump said he was taking it preventively.

READ: Trump defends his use of unproven treatment for coronavirus

Brazil registered 1,179 more coronavirus deaths, the health ministry said on Tuesday, as the pandemic exacted its worst daily toll yet in the hardest-hit Latin American country.

The overall death toll in Brazil now stands at 17,971, the ministry said. This was the first time the daily toll exceeded 1,000.

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There were also 17,408 new infections, bringing the total to 271,628.

Public health experts also say the government figures may grossly understate the death and infection tolls – perhaps by as many as 15 times – because Brazil carries out very little coronavirus testing.

On Monday Brazil j_