Brazil’s Amazonas announces movement restrictions due to surging COVID-19 cases

Medical workers take care of a patient at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Nossa Senhora da Conceicao hospital, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Porto Alegre, Brazil

Unnecessary movement as well as non-essential activities will be banned for seven days starting from Monday in the face of the collapse of the health system due to the surge in the cases of COVID-19, Wilson Lima, governor of the Brazilian state of Amazonas announced on Saturday.

“The movement of people will be prohibited, which does not mean cutting off their right to come and go, but they can only leave out of extreme necessity, such as going to the doctor, the supermarket or being authorized to work,” said the governor at a press conference.

The announcement came following a request from the Public Ministry after the city’s oxygen supplies were depleted due to 100 percent occupancy in hospitals in the state capital of Manaus.

As part of the measures, only sectors related to medicine or food will be permitted to open, with shops, bars and restaurants operating on a home delivery system, while public transportation will only be open to take essential workers to their jobs.

“This is not a lockdown, but rather a measure to reduce crowds and the transmission of the virus. There is no need to rush to buy food,” said Lima, adding that police will be in charge of ensuring the compliance with the measures.

“We are now consuming an average of 75,000 cubic meters of oxygen, while when in the peak of last year, we consumed 30,000. We doubled the consumption of last year, and we need from 120,000 to 135,000 cubic meters, expecting that cases will increase throughout the state,” said Marcellus Campelo, health secretary of Amazonas.

The situation in the state is critical, and neighboring Venezuela has sent trucks carrying oxygen donations to supply the state.

According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, the state of Amazonas has registered 248,561 cases and 7,051 deaths from the virus so far.

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