Brazil's coronavirus death toll has surpassed 80,000, according to health ministry figures, as the country hit second-hardest in the world continued struggling to control the pandemic.

The figure, second only to the death toll in the US, quadrupled in two months.

Brazil passed the mark of 20,000 Covid-19 deaths on May 21.

Recently, the Latin American country of 212mn people has regularly registered more than 1,000 new deaths a day — though the latest figure was lower, at 632, bringing its overall death toll to 80,120.

The country has confirmed 2.1mn total infections.

Experts say under-testing means the real numbers are probably much higher.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who is infected himself, faces criticism for downplaying the virus and urging state governors to reopen their economies despite health officials' recommendations.

Two more government ministers said on Monday they had tested positive for coronavirus, underscoring a struggle to limit the outbreak even among the political elite.

Citizenship Minister Onyx Lorenzoni and newly appointed Education Minister Milton Ribeiro both announced their diagnoses and new quarantine measures on social media.

Lorenzoni, a close ally of President Jair Bolsonaro, credited relatively mild symptoms to an anti-malarial drug touted by the president on social media and at public rallies.

"I already feel the positive effects," the minister wrote on Twitter about his regimen of chloroquine, along with azithromycin and ivermectin, as a treatment against the virus.

Bolsonaro, who is quarantined after he also tested positive for the virus, is taking hydroxychloroquine, a related drug. Both are used to treat malaria, and Bolsonaro has become a full-throated supporter of using them to treat Covid-19, despite the lack of solid proof they work against the disease.

"It is important to remember that the 'off label' use of medication is well established in medicine, as long as the patient clearly agrees," tweeted Bolsonaro on Monday morning, defending the use of hydroxychloroquine.

The World Health Organisation said on Friday the outbreak in Brazil appears to have finally reached a plateau.

There is "an opportunity here now for suppress the transmission of the virus," said WHO health emergencies chief Michael Ryan, urging the country to "take control."

But though the level of daily deaths and infections has stabilised, it remains high.

On average, Brazil has registered more than 1,040 new deaths and 33,000 new infections a day over the past week.

"The WHO talks about a plateau...but the problem is, the level remains very high, and it looks set to stay that way for quite some time," said Mauro Sanchez, an epidemiologist at the University of Brasilia.

Gaining control "will depend on what we do in terms of public policy, and on whether people follow it," he said.

Only the US has more infections and deaths than Brazil in the pandemic, with 3.8mn and 140,811, respectively.

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