BRASILA, June 9 (CGTN) - Brazil on Tuesday restored detailed COVID-19 data to its official national website following controversy over the removal of cumulative totals and a ruling by a Supreme Court justice that the full set of information be reinstated.
The move came after days of mounting pressure from across the political spectrum and allegations the government was trying to mask the severity of the outbreak, now the world's second-largest.
The official website reverted to showing cumulative totals of deaths and infections - as well as breakdowns by state - as it had done until last week.
On Tuesday evening the latest daily numbers were uploaded to the site. They showed 32,091 new infections of coronavirus in the previous 24 hours for a cumulative total of 739,503 cases, and 1,272 new deaths, bringing the toll to 38,406 dead, the third highest after the United States and Britain.
President Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized for playing down the severity of the coronavirus, dismissing it as a "little flu" and urging governors to reverse lockdown measures battering the country's economy.
Under growing criticism over his approach to the medical crisis, Bolsonaro said Tuesday the World Health Organization had lost credibility in its handling of the pandemic and that Brazil could pull out of the international body.
Supreme Justice Alexandre de Moraes said in a statement on the court's website that the health ministry must "fully re-establish the daily dissemination of epidemiological data on the COVID-19 pandemic, including on the agency's website."
Moraes said the government's action had made it "impossible" to monitor the spread of the virus and implement appropriate control and prevention policies.
Acting Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, speaking at a cabinet meeting broadcast on TV, said there had never been any intention of manipulating the numbers. Pazuello took over the acting post after two former health ministers resigned over disagreement with the president's coronavirus response.
Over the weekend, the health ministry abruptly removed cumulative totals of coronavirus cases and deaths. Last week, it also had delayed the release of the numbers until late in the evening, past the broadcast time of Brazil's main news program.
Health experts had feared that by not publishing accumulated totals and releasing only deaths that occurred in the past 24 hours, cases in which someone tested positive for the coronavirus days after their death could disappear from public view.