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Bolsonaro snaps photos with children

Christian Fernsby |
Wearing a face mask, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posed for photographs with children plucked out of a crowd of supporters.

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Bolsonaro's latest flouting of social distancing guidelines came after a month in which he lost two health ministers, both of whom resisted his fight against quarantines. Brazil's confirmed cases of the coronavirus passed those of Spain and Italy on Saturday, making it the site of the world's fourth-largest outbreak.

Health Ministry figures released on Sunday evening showed that 7,938 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total above 241,000, while the death toll increased by 485 to 16,118.

In an online video, Bolsonaro said he welcomed the demonstration at the presidential palace in what has become a nearly biweekly affair, with the president and supporters defying quarantines that have the support of most Brazilians.

"Above all want freedom, they want democracy, they want respect," he said, adding that Brazilians want to get the economy back up and running as quickly as possible.

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