Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said, the government is aiming to airlift 1,500 Covid-19 patients in the hard-hit northern state of Amazonas to other states for medical treatment. Minister on Tuesday addressed reporters at the opening of a field hospital in the Amazonas capital Manaus, where facilities have been overrun due to a rise in coronavirus cases in the past two weeks.
Health Minister, who was accompanied by Amazonas Governor Wilson Lima said, "We have already taken 300 people aboard air force planes, and our goal is to airlift about 1,500 people". The initial goal unveiled last week was to transfer 235 people due to a lack of ventilators at hospitals, reported an international news agency. According to Pazuello, the aggravation in the situation is due to the new variant identified in Manas city.
"We had a jump in infections at the beginning of January," which tripled the number of cases, he said. He further added, the new variant appears to be more contagious but has the same degree of aggressiveness as the initial virus. Brazil reports more than 8.9 million people tested positive for COVID-19 in Brazil and 218,878 people have died from the disease, according to the Ministry of Health's latest report on Tuesday.