Coronavirus: Brazil judge orders President Bolsonaro to publish full data

(BBC) – A Brazilian Supreme Court judge has ordered President Jair Bolsonaro’s government to resume publishing full data on Covid-19 amid accusations of censorship.

Brazil’s health ministry removed data from its website and stopped releasing cumulative totals for deaths and cases on Saturday, provoking uproar.

The ministry said it would only report cases and deaths in the past 24 hours.

Mr Bolsonaro said actions were being taken to improve Covid-19 reporting.

But critics accused the far-right president’s government of data manipulation, with Brazil’s national council of state health secretaries describing the move as “authoritarian, insensitive, inhuman and unethical”.

Now Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes has intervened, telling the ministry to “fully re-establish” the publication of Covid-19 data in the interests of public health.

Brazil has the world’s second-highest number of cases, and has recently had more new deaths than any other nation.

The Latin American country has recorded more than 700,000 infections, but because of insufficient testing, the number is believed to be much higher. More than 37,000 people have died, the third-highest toll in the world.

Using data from alternative sources, Brazilian media outlets have started publishing their own coronavirus figures to keep the public informed.

They have criticised President Bolsonaro for his handling of the pandemic, during which he has opposed lockdown measures and downplayed the virus as “a little flu”.

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