Hospitals in Brazil’s Sao Paulo ‘near collapse’, city mayor warned

Hospitals in Brazil's Sao Paulo 'near collapse', city Mayor warned
Brazil's largest city's public hospitals could be overwhelmed in about two weeks' time, the city mayor warned. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times: The health system of Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo could collapse as demand grows for emergency beds to deal with coronavirus cases, city mayor warned.

Bruno Covas said the public hospitals of the city had reached 90% and could run out of space in about two weeks.

Sao Paulo is one of Brazil’s worst-hit regions, where almost 3,000 people have died so far.

On Sunday, the country overtook Spain and Italy to become the nation with the fourth largest number of infections.

Brazil’s health ministry have reported nearly 8,000 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total above 241,000. Only the US, Russia, and the UK have higher numbers.

officials confirmed 485 death in the last 24 hours, making the death toll in the Latin American nation to 16,118- world’s fifth-highest figure.

Many health experts in Brazil have warned that the real number of confirmed infections in the country may be far higher than the official records, due to a lack of testing.

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been strongly criticised both in his country and abroad for the handling of the escalating coronavirus crisis.

On Sunday, he defied global health advice on social distancing when he posed for photographs with children and supporters in the capital, Brasília.

What did Sao Paulo mayor say?

Mr Covas said he is trying to introduce a strict lockdown in an attempt to slowdown the contagion before hospitals were overwhelmed. To achieve this, he said he was now in crisis talks with the state governor.

Sao Paulo governor controls the police, and his support will be essential if a lockdown is to succeed.

Official figures show majority of the population of about 12 million have been flouting social distancing rules.

How is President Bolsonaro handling the crisis?

From the early stage of coronavirus pandemic, President Bolsonaro continues to oppose lockdown measures, arguing that social distancing will only wreck the economy.

The leader has previously downplayed the virus as “a little flu” and said that the spread of Covid-19 is inevitable.

Mr Bolsonaro joined protesters in April demanding that lockdown restrictions be lifted. He says the restrictions are damaging the country’s economy, bringing unemployment and hunger.

Brazilian Health Minister Nelson Teich resigned last week, after less than a month in the job. He stepped down after he had publicly criticised a decree by Mr Bolsonaro allowing gyms and beauty parlours to reopen. Mr Teich’s predecessor was sacked after disagreeing with Mr Bolsonaro.

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