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Sao Paulo to close bars, restaurants, shops at night, weekends

Brazil's coronavirus caseload and death toll stood at 8,753,920 and 215,243 on Friday

The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic, announced a return to the strictest phase of quarantine starting on Monday, with the closure of bars, restaurants and non-essential businesses during nights and weekends due to the increase in cases.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, Governor of Sao Paulo Joao Doria said that these measures, which will be in force until February 7, are taken to avoid a collapse in the hospital system of the richest and most populated state, reports Xinhua news agency.

"We are falling victim to a second wave of coronavirus in Sao Paulo and Brazil. The speed of the increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths is concerning.

"Before all Brazilians are vaccinated we must face the pandemic with these types of measures," he said.

For two weeks starting on Monday, only supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies will be allowed to operate after 8 p.m. and on weekends and holidays.

According to the weekly epidemiological data published on Friday, the state average per 100,000 inhabitants rose from 287.9 to 348.6 new Covid-19 cases, while the rate of new hospitalizations increased from 49.3 to 54.1, and deaths rose from 5.8 to 7.1.

So far, Sao Paulo has reported 1,670,754 Covid-19 cases and 50,938 deaths,

As of Saturday morning, Brazil's overall coronavirus caseload and death toll stood at 8,753,920 and 215,243, respectively.