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Fri Mar 20, 2020, 07:42 PM

Brazil cuts growth, sees coronavirus quickly ravaging health system

MARCH 20, 2020 / 11:24 AM / UPDATED 2 HOURS AGO

Lisandra Paraguassu, Stephen Eisenhammer

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil began to process the accelerating horrors of the spread of the new coronavirus on Friday, slashing economic growth outlooks, warning of a healthcare collapse and announcing new measures to fight a crisis that has also taken a toll on President Jair Bolsonaro’s popularity.

The senate on Friday signed off on a state of emergency that will permit the government to waive fiscal targets this year.

The Economy Ministry lowered its growth forecast from 2.1% to zero - a number many economists believe remains highly ambitious - with a “significant” contraction coming in the second quarter.

At least 11 people have died from the virus, the health ministry said, up from seven on Thursday, and more than 900 people are now infected across continent-sized Brazil.


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