Brazil has become the second country in the world to pass one million confirmed coronavirus cases.
The grim milestone was reached on Friday after a record daily rise of 54,771, suggesting the ravaged country has not even reached the peak yet.
Deaths in the country also rose by 1,206, taking the official tally to 48,954, although the true figure is feared to be far higher.
There is no widespread testing programme in the country with the true figure of cases thought to be as many as ten times higher.
Second only to the United States in both cases and deaths, Brazil confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus on February 26.
The virus has spread relentlessly across the continent-sized country, eroding support for right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro and raising fears of economic collapse.
Brazil had reported 1,032,913 confirmed cases on Friday, with and is likely to surpass 50,000 deaths on Saturday, although weekend reporting can be lower.
Share this on:
Even so, the true extent of the outbreak far exceeds the official figures, according to many experts, who cite a lack of widespread testing.
“That number of 1 million is much less than the real number of people who have been infected, because there is under-reporting of a magnitude of five to 10 times,” said Alexandre Naime Barbosa, a medical professor at the Sao Paulo State University.
“The true number is probably at least 3 million and could even be as high as 10 million people.”
COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, arrived in Brazil via wealthy tourists returning from Europe to major southeastern cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and has spread deep into the interior, reaching 82% of Brazil’s municipalities, Health Ministry data showed.
The country still has had no permanent health minister after losing two since April, following clashes with the president.
Bolsonaro has shunned social distancing, calling it a job-killing measure more dangerous than the virus itself.