Brazil has removed around months of data on the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic from a government website amidst criticism of the handling of the outbreak by the President Jair Bolsonaro that has till now infected over 670,000 people, the media confirmed on Sunday.
The Health Ministry on Saturday removed the COVID-19 data from the official website on which it had been documenting till now and was also documented by the state and municipality, BBC reported.
COVID-19 Data Removed From Website in Brazil
Instead, the Ministry only stated that there were 27,075 new cases and 904 deaths in the past 24 hours. It also said that 10,209 patients had recovered. On Twitter, Bolsonaro said "the cumulative data... does not reflect the moment the country is in" but did not explain why the information had to be removed or could not be released. He said additional measures were being taken to "improve the reporting of cases".
The decision has been widely criticized by journalists and members of Congress. The removal of the data happened after Brazil reported more than 1,000 deaths for four consecutive days, said the BBC report. With 645,771 infections, Brazil currently accounts for the country with the second-highest COVID-19 cases in the world.
According to health experts, this number expected to rise even further as the outbreak is still weeks away from its peak. Last week, Brazil's death toll surpassed that of Italy's, placing the nation third in the world, behind only the US and the UK. As of Sunday, the death toll stood at 35,026.
(With agency inputs)