THE state of Amazonas in Brazil is running out of oxygen with people on respirators dying of suffocation in hospitals in a renewed surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths, its government says.
In a statement released by Amazonas congressman, Marcelo Ramos, the state has made a dramatic appeal to the United States to send a military transport plane to the capital city of Manaus with oxygen cylinders.
According to Raissa Floriano,a caretaker to a patient at 28 de Agosto hospital in Manaus, patients with serious cases of COVID-19 were being unhooked from ventilators for lack of oxygen,
“They took my father off the oxygen,” Floriano, said.
Speaking to the media, Floriano amidst sobbing said she was looking for an oxygen cylinder to save her 73-year-old father, Alfonso.
The city has run out of oxygen and some health centres have become a type of suffocation chamber,” Jessem Orellana, from the Fiocruz-Amazonia scientific investigation institute, said.
“Here, there aren’t any empty beds left, any oxygen tanks, nothing; all we have left is faith,” Manaus resident Luiza Castro told the media.
It will be recalled that Brazil is home to the world’s second-deadliest COVID-19 outbreak after the United States, and Manaus was one of the first Brazilian cities struck by a spiraling death count and caseload from the first wave of the pandemic last year.
With emergency services pushed to breaking point, Amazonas Governor Nelson Lima announced a 10-day statewide curfew yesterday to stop the virus spread.
He said the state was in the most critical moment of the pandemic.
“These are difficult but necessary measures. We are in a war operation.” he said.
Health authorities say some intensive care wards are so full that scores of patients were being airlifted to other states.
Source says, people in Manaus are again dying at home from COVID-19, and according to official figures, the city on Wednesday saw a fourth straight day of record burials of 198, with 87 of them deaths from the virus.
To make matters worse, a new variant of the virus was detected in Japan on Sunday in four people who had come from Amazonas.
Researchers have not established how infectious or lethal the variant is, but biomedical center Fiocruz said it had detected the virus in a 29-year-old woman who had already tested positive nine months earlier.
The neighbouring state of Pará announced on yesterday it was banning travel boats coming down the river from Amazonas, citing a rise in cases and the identification of the new variant.
It will equally be recalled that Britain yesterday announced it was suspending all arrivals from South America due to the variant.
Amazonas Health Secretary, Marcellus Campelo said the state needs almost three times more oxygen than it can produce locally and appealed for supplies from other states..