SAO PAULO, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Brazil registered 69,826 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking its national total to 7,110,434, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry said that 1,092 more patients have died, raising the death toll to 184,827.

The southeastern state of Sao Paulo, the country's COVID-19 epicenter, decided to start the 2021 school year in February with mandatory face-to-face classes and social-distancing regulations.

Also, the Rio de Janeiro State Court ordered closure of Buzios, a tourist resort in the state, and asked all tourists to leave the site and return home in 72 hours, so that hotels and restaurants could be closed to curb the spread of the virus.

In the capital Brasilia, the Federal Supreme Court voted unanimously to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory and authorize public and private entities to demand proof of immunization for entry into certain places or regions.