© Reuters. Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rio de Janeiro

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Seven months after Brazil declared a state of emergency because of the new coronavirus pandemic, the country’s Health Ministry has distributed less than a third of the 22.9 million available RT-PCR test kits, O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper reported on Friday.

The reason is a lack of supplies used to apply the tests, including swabs, the report said citing internal documents obtained by the newspaper.

The Health Ministry did not immediately comment on the report.

By Thursday, some 6.43 million of the so-called Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction assays for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 had been sent to states and municipalities by the federal government, which is equivalent to 28% of the total, according documents obtained by the newspaper.

Brazil, which has the world’s second worst outbreak after the United States, has registered more than 4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 124,614 deaths, according to health ministry data from Thursday.

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