Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
- Brazil has recorded a record 34,918 daily cases of coronavirus, on the same day government officials said the outbreak was under control.
- The WHO has welcomes the findings of a University of Oxford study that found dexamethasone, a widely available steroid, helped save the lives of people with severe COVID-19.
- More than 8.1 million people have been confirmed to have the coronavirus around the world. Nearly four million have recovered, while more than 440,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The US has the most cases and deaths, followed by Brazil.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, June 17
00:00 GMT – Brazil cases at daily record, official claims crisis ‘managed’
Brazil has reported a record 34,918 new coronavirus cases, on the same day that one of the senior officials leading the country’s response to the crisis claimed the outbreak was under control.
Brazil also registered 1,282 COVID-19 deaths bringing confirmed fatalities to 45,241.
Walter Braga Netto, the head of the office of the president’s chief of staff and one of the top officials handling the crisis, said it was under control.
“There is a crisis, we sympathise with bereaved families, but it is managed,” Braga Netto told a webinar organised by the Commercial Association of Rio de Janeiro.
Braga Netto based his claim on deaths-per-million-people, which suggested the country was doing better than many European nations, saying he “was trying to convey a message of optimism in the management of the crisis”.
But Carissa Etienne, who is the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said in a video briefing from Washington that Brazil is a major concern.
“We are not seeing transmission slowing down” in Brazil, Etienne said.
Latin America’s largest country accounts for about a quarter of the roughly four million coronavirus cases in the Americas and nearly 25 percent of the deaths, she said.
23:30 GMT – WHO welcomes study findings on steroid treatment
The WHO has welcomed the findings of a “breakthrough” study on a steroid treatment for people suffering from severe cases of COVID-19.
“This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said in a statement. “This is great news.”
The researchers shared initial insights about the results of the trial with WHO, which will update its clinical guidance on how and when the drug should be used in COVID-19.
Dexamethasone is a steroid that has been used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in a range of conditions, including inflammatory disorders and certain cancers.
Read all the updates from yesterday (June 16) here.
Al Jazeera and news agencies