RIO DE JANEIRO, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic surpassed the mark of 20,000 on Thursday following a record 1,188 24-hour increase, according to the health ministry.
The number of cumulative deaths now stands at 20,047, out of more than 310,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far reported in the country, the worst hit by the novel coronavirus in Latin America.
The virus fatalities, the sixth highest toll in the world, are two times the number 11 days earlier, showed Brazil's official data.
With the tally of the confirmed cases, Brazil is currently behind the United States and Russia, as the global total topped 5 million according to the latest data by Johns Hopkins University.
In Brazil, the Sao Paulo state remains the epicenter of virus outbreak with around 70,000 confirmed cases including over 5,000 deaths.
In a government release Wednesday, the state said its existing healthcare facilities will "collapse" in three weeks given a ballooning caseload.