MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The number of COVID-19 cases recorded in Brazil over the past 24 hours should be carefully examined, as the considerable decrease in new registered cases could point to underreporting, Mike Ryan, the executive director of the health emergencies program at the World Health Organization (WHO), said on Monday.
Brazil confirmed over 17,400 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, which marks a decrease in the daily increment compared to previous numbers. For example, on Sunday, the country recorded nearly 35,000 cases of the infection.
"While the overall pattern of disease in Brazil, as I have said last week, is overall flat, the number in the last 24 hours needs to be examined carefully," Ryan said at a press conference.
According to the executive director, having looked at the numbers over the month of June, which have remained relatively stable, it becomes clear that there is a kind of stable weekly pattern and decrease at weekend.
"But there certainly has been a spike in [the number of cases] in the last 24 hours and, again, we are looking into how much of that is ... related to reporting," Ryan added.
Ryan also said that Brazil's testing per population remained relatively low, as the positivity rates for testing were still quite high.
"I believe the positivity rate was 31 percent for Brazil. So that generally means that there are probably more cases out there than have been reported. What we tend to see is that positivity rate dropping usually down to 5 percent or less in countries that are detecting all of their cases ... From that perspective, we would say that this trend or this large number of cases are not reflective of exhaust of testing, but, as I have said, probably underestimate the actual numbers of cases," Ryan added.
Brazil comes second on a global tally of coronavirus cases after the United States, which has recorded over 2.2 million COVID-19 patients. So far, the Latin American country has confirmed over 1 million cases, including 50,617 fatalities and nearly 550,000 recoveries.