Pazuello 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.
“We have already taken 300 people aboard air force planes, and our goal is to airlift about 1,500 people,” said the Health Minister, who was accompanied by Amazonas Governor Wilson Lima.
The initial goal unveiled last week was to transfer 235 people due to a lack of ventilators at hospitals, Xinhua reported.
According to Pazuello, the new variant of the coronavirus found in Manaus may have aggravated the situation in the Brazilian state.
“We had a jump in infections at the beginning of January,” which tripled the number of cases, he said.
The variant appears to be more contagious but has the same degree of aggressiveness as the initial virus, he added.
More than 8.9 million people have 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.