The World Health Organisation says the situation in Brazil remains of ‘concern’ as it’s health system buckles under the stress.
Brazil’s coronavirus death toll overtook Britain’s on Friday to become the second-highest in the world, but the World Health Organization (WHO) said the nation’s health system was just about coping with the pressure but didn’t know long it could carry on doing that.
Brazils Ministry of Health recorded 909 deaths on Friday, putting the total at 41,828, it also reported a cumulative total of 828,810 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 25,982 new infections in the last 24 hours – numbers that were second only to the United States’s.
Experts had warned that the actual number of cases in Latin America’s biggest economy could be many times higher than reported.
Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, said the situation in Brazil remains “of concern,” although he acknowledged that intensive care bed occupancy rates are now below 80 percent in most areas of the country.
“Overall the health system is still coping in Brazil, although, having said that, with the sustained number of severe cases that remains to be seen,” Ryan said at a briefing in Geneva.
“Clearly the health system in Brazil across the country needs significant support in order to sustain its effort in this regard. But the data we have at the moment supports a system under pressure, but a system still coping with the number of severe cases.”
The mayor of Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo, has said its health system could collapse as demand grows for emergency beds to deal with coronavirus cases. Bruno Covas said the city’s public hospitals had reached 90% capacity and could run out of space in two weeks.
He accused those who flouted lockdown rules of playing “Russian roulette” with people’s lives. São Paulo is one of the country’s worst-hit regions, with almost 3,000 deaths so far. Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been strongly criticised both at home and abroad for his handling of the country’s escalating coronavirus crisis.
Brazil’s biggest city, Sao Paulo, is freeing up space at its graveyards during the pandemic by digging up the bones of people buried in the past and storing their bagged remains in large metal containers.
The remains of people who died at least three years ago will be exhumed and put in numbered bags, then stored temporarily in 12 storage containers the city’s funeral service has purchased.