COVID crisis in Amazonas as 1000 a day die in Brazil

Manaus/Brasilia: The Brazilian jungle state of Amazonas received more emergency supplies of oxygen and respirators, as the military and neighbouring Venezuela scrambled to alleviate an unfolding humanitarian crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Air Force also said it had evacuated 12 patients from hospitals in the state capital Manaus to the northern city of Sao Luis overnight, with hospitals at breaking point with no oxygen supplies and overflowing intensive care wards.

Family members of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 line up with empty oxygen tanks in an attempt to refill them, in Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil.Credit:AP

Mass graves were dug in Manaus during the first wave of the pandemic last year. Harrowing scenes are again emerging in the second wave, of doctors and relatives running out of supplies and equipment while trying desperately to keep patients alive.

Brazil's Air Force said on Saturday a second flight had landed in Manaus with eight tanks of liquid oxygen, following an earlier emergency delivery of five tanks, and the Navy said in a statement that it is sending 40 respirators.

Venezuela, meanwhile, said it has sent the first batch of oxygen supplies on the 1500kilometre road trip to Amazonas, which should arrive in Manaus on Sunday.

A health worker checks the temperature of the locals as she tests for COVID-19 at the Indigenous Park, a tribal community in the outskirts of Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil.Credit:AP

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said the Venezuelan government "will supply oxygen for the duration of the emergency situation in the state of Amazonas".

As well as the snowballing second wave of the virus, Brazil is now also dealing with a new, potentially more contagious, coronavirus variant that originated in Amazonas and prompted Britain on Thursday to bar entry to Brazilians.

The government of President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain and COVID sceptic, has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the crisis and its failure so far to roll out a vaccination program.

Brazil on Saturday reported over 1000 virus-related deaths for the fifth day in a row.

Bolsonaro and his government have called for "early treatment" of COVID-19 symptoms as part of a campaign to promote the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, despite studies discrediting such a treatment.

Social media platform Twitter on Saturday warned the health ministry that a tweet last week advising people worried about symptoms to start "early treatment" violated its rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful misinformation about the virus.

"However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible," the warning said.


Most Viewed in World

Source: Read Full Article