Brazil is experiencing a historic collapse of its health service as intensive care units in hospitals run out of capacity, its leading health institute, Fiocruz, has warned.
Covid-19 units in all but two of Brazil’s 27 states are at or above 80% capacity, according to Fiocruz.
In Rio Grande do Sul state there are no intensive care beds available at all.
The warning came as the country registered its highest daily death toll yet with 2,841 dying within 24 hours.
That figure constitutes a large jump from the previous high of 2,286 on 10 March.
In a statement [in Portuguese], Fiocruz said that the situation was “extremely critical in the entire country”.
“The analysis by our researchers suggests it’s the biggest collapse of the hospital and health service in Brazil’s history.”
Health officials in Brazil’s most populous state, São Paulo, which on Tuesday also registered a record daily death toll, have called on the new health minister to consider imposing a national lockdown.
Marcelo Queiroga – who will be formally appointed as health minister later on Wednesday – is the fourth person to hold the office since the pandemic began.
He was given the job on Monday by President Jair Bolsonaro, who has faced widespread criticism over his handling of the pandemic.
President Bolsonaro has consistently opposed quarantine measures introduced by state governors, arguing that the collateral damage to the economy would be worse than the effects of the virus itself.