Venezuela to send oxygen to Brazil for COVID-19 treatment

16 Janvier, 2021, 05:47 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Gravediggers bury a Covid-19 victim while surrounded by relatives in Manaus on Jan 13 2021

Amazonas state in northern Brazil on Thursday announced a 10-day curfew to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, as cases soar and hospitals run out of beds and oxygen.

Desperate relatives, protesting outside hospitals in the state capital of Manaus, said patients had been taken off ventilators as oxygen ran out.

"The line for beds is growing by a lot - we have 480 people waiting now", Brazil's health minister Eduardo Pazuello said in a Thursday night broadcast on social media.

Brazil's Amazonas State is airlifting 60 premature babies from hospitals in Manaus for emergency care in Sao Paulo, a distance of 3,875 kilometers (2,407 miles), because of a shortage of oxygen supplies in health facilities in the state.

Amazonas produces "significant quantities of oxygen, but now our people need oxygen and solidarity", said Lima, who added some patients would be transferred to other states.

Patients in overloaded hospitals waited in despair as a few oxygen cylinders arrived to save some, but came too late for others.

Brazil is home to the world's second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak after the United States, and Manaus was one of the first Brazilian cities struck by a spiraling death count and case load from the first wave of the pandemic a year ago.

The country has recorded more than 207,000 deaths from Covid-19, second only to the United States.

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Images of people bringing oxygen tanks to hospitals and of patients complaining about a lack of medical assistance have angered Brazilians and augmented criticism of President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic. The company added that Manaus' remote location presents challenging logistics, requiring additional stocks to be transported by boat and by plane.

The 7:00 pm to 6:00 am curfew will begin Friday.

The new measures challenged protesters who on Thursday morning carried Brazilian flags through the streets.

Mr. Bolsonaro has downplayed risks of the disease, saying the economic fallout of the pandemic will kill more than the virus. His son Eduardo, a lawmaker who chairs the global relations committee in Brazil's lower house, was one of the many conservatives who in December egged on their supporters to disobey local restrictions on activity.

Park of the Tribes, a community of more than 2,500 Indigenous people on the outskirts of Manaus, went more than two months without any resident showing COVID-19 symptoms.

"We're really very anxious", said Ortega, who belongs to the Witoto ethnicity. In the past week, 29 people have tested positive, said Vanda Ortega, a volunteer nurse in the community. Two went to urgent care units, but no one yet has required hospitalisation.

"We're really very anxious", said Ortega, who belongs to the Witoto ethnicity.

Biller reported from Rio de Janeiro.

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