Brazil’s health secretaries urge for lockdown as virus soars News Staff

SAO PAULO — Brazilian state health secretaries are urging nationwide lockdowns and curfews because hospitals are running short of intensive-care unit beds as COVID-19 claims more than 1,000 lives each day in the country.

“The return of the pandemic in several states is making their private and their public assistance networks collapse and has brought imminent risk of spreading it to all regions of Brazil,” Brazil’s National Council of Health Secretaries said in an open letter published Monday, adding that the nation is experiencing its worst moment since the pandemic began.

It also cited the slow pace of the vaccination program.

Last week was Brazil’s deadliest since the beginning of the pandemic, with 8,244 deaths from the virus.

The letter from the council, which represents the nation’s 27 health secretaries, suggested lockdowns in cities where no ICU beds are available and curfews between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. in the rest.

Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, entered a two-week lockdown on Sunday, and at least eight states adopted curfews over the past week due to the rise in cases and deaths from the virus.

Less than 4% of Brazil’s population has been vaccinated against COVID-19. Almost 260,000 people have died from the disease in the South American country.

Mauricio Savarese, The Associated Press

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