Brazil’s Health Ministry once again updated the number of Covid-19 cases in the country. Infections have reached 1,128 patients—with 18 deaths, so far.
During a press conference on Saturday evening, government officials confirmed that there is a good chance the actual numbers are much higher. “Underreporting is inherent to this kind of disease when it comes to mild cases,” said Health Surveillance Secretary Wanderson Oliveira. “We’re going to distribute tests to the states, and hope to screen 10 million people over the next few weeks,” he continued.
The government says that it has tried to purchase more tests for weeks now, but suppliers couldn’t meet the demand before 45 to 60 days. “We are going to use the so-called ‘point-of-care’ tests, which use a drop of blood,” said Mr. Oliveira. He added that companies are donating testing kits to the government, in order to increase their capacity to identify infections—but didn’t provide specific numbers.
Authorities said preventing Covid-19 infections in poor neighborhoods will be a huge challenge, due to the high-level concentration of people in the same area. “It will be pivotal to work on alternatives to offer defense as soon the cases start to appear [in said areas],” said Mr. Oliveira.