Brazil has reported a record 33,274 new cases of the novel coronavirus with the death toll surpassing that of France with the nation now ranking only below the United States, Britain and Italy.
The South American nation has now reported 498,440 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began, a level of contagion second only to the United States.
The death toll in Brazil from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, increased to 28,834 with 956 new deaths in the last 24 hours, the ministry said on Saturday.
Brazilian states are preparing to ease quarantine restrictions despite warnings from public health experts who say the worst is still to come.
Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has played down the gravity of the epidemic and criticised lockdowns for paralysing the economy and causing widespread unemployment and hardship.
Australian Associated Press