CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela will send further shipments of oxygen to help neighboring Brazil treat COVID-19 patients, President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday, after sending a convoy of oxygen-filled trucks to the Amazonian city of Manaus last month.
Maduro, a socialist, has a tense relationship with Brazilian
right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who said in January the Venezuelan oxygen was welcome but that Maduro should focus on helping Venezuelans.
Maduro said on Tuesday that three trucks were currently loading with oxygen produced by Venezuelan state-owned steel company Sidor. Two would be destined for Brazil’s northern Amazonas state, while one would go to Roraima state, he said.
“Anything is possible when there is solidarity, brotherhood, peace and love between peoples, and in this case there is, between the people of Brazil and Venezuela,” Maduro said.
He added that further shipments could arrive “every now and then” or weekly, according to Brazil’s needs.
The outbreak in Brazil’s Amazonian region has been particularly severe. Doctors at overrun hospitals in the state capital, Manaus, have said patients have had to share cylinders and that some have died because of lack of oxygen.
Brazil has reported some 9.2 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, the third-highest toll in the world. Some 225,099 Brazilians have died of the disease, the most of any country other than the United States.
Reporting by Vivian Sequera; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Peter Cooney