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BRASILIA, Brazil, Mon. Sept 21, 2020 (Reuters) – One Latin American nation recorded over 16,000 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and over 300 deaths.

Brazil recorded 16,282 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 330 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

South America’s largest country has registered more than 4.5 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, according to ministry data, ranking it as the third worst outbreak in the world after the United States and India.

Nearly 137,000 people have died of the disease in Brazil, which ranks second after the United States in coronavirus deaths.

The continued spike comes as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is scheduled to undergo surgery to remove a bladder stone on Friday, a doctor for the Brazilian leader told Reuters.

Bolsonaro will check in to a hospital in Sao Paulo on Thursday to prepare for the procedure and will be hospitalized until Saturday or Sunday at the latest, said Leandro Echenique, one of several doctors on Bolsonaro’s medical team.

“It is something much simpler and more common than other surgeries”, Echenique said.

The president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Echenique’s remarks. Plans for the surgery were reported earlier by newspapers Folha de S.Paulo and O Estado de S.Paulo, which cited unnamed sources. Bolsonaro’s health has been a concern since he was stabbed while on the campaign trail in 2018, and he subsequently underwent several surgeries.

(Reporting by Jake Spring; editing by Diane Craft)

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