RIO DE JANEIRO, January 7
Insufficient testing for Covid-19 and a data blackout caused by hackers have left Brazil in the dark as it grapples with a wave of infections from the Omicron coronavirus variant, health experts warn.
Brazilians with Covid-19 symptoms are facing long lines to get tested due to the lack of kits in a country without a comprehensive testing strategy since the start of the pandemic.
To make matters worse, some Health Ministry databases have been offline since an apparent ransomware attack on December 10 seriously hampered the government's ability to gather data from state health authorities. "In general, the registration system was bad from the start, and it got worse with the hacker attack, so we're really under water," said Gonzalo Vecina, former head of Brazilian health regulator Anvisa and professor at the University of Sao Paulo. "We're in the dark," he said. Brazil has so far verified just 265 Omicron cases since late November. — Reuters
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