Hospitals are ‘suffocation chambers’ as Brazil Covid variant ruins oxygen supply

The worrying new Brazilian Covid variant is so severe patients are "suffocating" as hospital "run out of oxygen" for sick patients.

Supplies are being flown into a part of Brazil torn apart by the highly transmissible new coronavirus variant.

Hospitals in Manaus, the capital city of Amazonas, have become overwhelmed by the disease, with some medical centres reportedly morphing into "a type of suffocation chamber" as medics run "out of oxygen," Jessem Orellana, from the Fiocruz-Amazonia scientific investigation institute, told the AFP news agency.

Authorities have reportedly said oxygen supplies in intensive care wards are so low that patients are now being airlifted to other states.

Worried family and friends have been spotted outside hospitals in the city protesting against president Jair Bolsonaro, who has downplayed Covid.

The country's Air Force also flew cylinders with 9,300 kilograms of oxygen from Sao Paulo state to Manus, with a second cargo expected on Friday

Hospital chiefs had planned to airlift 61 premature babies in incubators out of the area on Monday but the relocation was put off as oxygen supplies levelled out.

For two full weeks, the World Health Organisation warned ICU occupancy in Manaus has been 100% full.

It said the situation has began to "implode" and medical and laboratory staff have started to become infected as gloves and PPE is limited.

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In a viral video, a woman medical worker can be seen pleading for help, stating: "We're in an awful state. Oxygen has simply run out across the whole unit today."

"There is no oxygen and lots of people are dying.

"If anyone has any oxygen, please bring it to the clinic. There are so many people dying."

Amazonas Governor Wilson Lima said the state was "in the most critical moment of the pandemic" and issued a nightly curfew on Friday 15th January to stem the spread.

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