Brazil COVID-19 deaths top 600,000

Brazil's health authorities said on Friday that deaths due to the coronavirus had topped 600,000.

They said the total had reached 600,425.

In Rio de Janeiro, the Delta variant has been spreading. A civic group in the city paid tribute to COVID-19 victims by hanging 600 pieces of white cloth on a beach. They protested what they called inadequate anti-virus measures by the government.

Coronavirus deaths in Brazil have been declining lately, with just over 16,000 fatalities recorded in September. That's about one-fifth the peak reached in April.

The city of Rio de Janeiro plans to hold its annual carnival celebrations without restrictions next February. Soccer stadiums have also begun relaxing their spectator caps.

But some local health experts warn of the risk in easing controls on large-scale events while infections are not fully contained.