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Brazil Coronavirus Death Toll Passes 1,000

A worker gestures to residents as he sprays disinfectant in an alley to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, at the Santa Marta slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 10, 2020.

Brazil is the first South American country to record more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center said early Saturday Brazil has nearly 20,000 confirmed cases of the virus with 1,074 deaths.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been reluctant to impose quarantine restrictions to slow the spread of the disease. He has said he is concerned about the economic impact of the restrictions.

The president has made fun of the coronavirus, calling it the “little flu.”

Almost all of Brazil’s governors have introduced quarantine measures.

Bolsonaro visited a hospital Friday without wearing a face mask. He was seen wiping his nose and shaking the hand of an elderly person, the BBC reported.

Medical experts are especially concerned about the impact the virus could have on Brazil’s poor and crowded neighborhoods and the country’s indigenous population.

A 15-year-old member of the Yanonami ethnic group died this week, the BBC reported. He was the first indigenous person to die from the virus.

Bolsonaro’s popularity is falling. Protests against him have been staged in several cities.