Dead coronavirus victims lie next to live patients at hospital in Brazil

Medical experts say the outbreak of the coronavirus is still far from its peak in Brazil as cases and deaths, already the highest in Latin America, continue to rise sharply.

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brazil (photo credit: REUTERS)
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brazil
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A video allegedly depicting scenes recorded from within the Jao Lucio Emergency Hospital in Manaus of 14 deceased COVID-19 patients laying next to intubated coronavirus patients has made its way into the hands of the Daily Mail.
The video, reportedly taken by an attending nurse, shows the bodies of deceased patients lying throughout the halls of the hospitals on gurneys and stretchers, some wrapped in traditional body bags while others were wrapped in sheets or blankets - many right next to live patients, according to the British daily.
The Amazonas State Secretary of Health confirmed the video's validity, claiming the victims died between April 15 and 16, and said that five of the bodies have since been removed. Eight of the patients were over the age of 60, six had underlying health conditions and all arrived in serious condition.
The other nine are being kept until relatives, holding official death certificates, can come and claim them, according to the Daily Mail.
The statement added that larger hospitals across the state are transferring some of their patients to the Jao Lucio Hospital due to overcrowding and lack of hospital beds, making the hospital the principal and de facto COVID-19 treatment center for the surrounding area.
"The João Lúcio Hospital has been receiving suspected patients from COVID-19 until the number of beds at the Delphina Aziz Hospital is increased and the Nilton Lins Hospital is operational," the Secretary of Health statement said. "With the expanded capacity of Delphina and the reinforcement of the beds in the rear hospital, HPS João Lúcio will be exclusively for urgent and emergency care to support the network."
Medical experts say the outbreak of the coronavirus is still far from its peak in Brazil as cases and deaths, already the highest in Latin America, continue to rise sharply.
Brazil has 33,682 confirmed cases, with some 200 fatalities per day in the last four days, bringing the death toll to 2,141 as of Friday, according to Health Ministry data.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday called for the reopening of the country's borders, as he pushes to restart South America's largest economy, but conceded that he may be blamed if the new coronavirus outbreak worsens as a result.
Bolsonaro fired his health minister on Thursday after clashing with him over lockdown measures, which the president argues are overly damaging to the economy and should be rolled back.
But the right-wing populist conceded on Friday that it's not up to him to decide whether or not social distancing measures should be relaxed in states and cities, after the supreme court ruled that governors and mayors are responsible for the decisions.
The borders, however, are Bolsonaro's to control. He said on Friday that he had discussed the possibility of reopening land borders, particularly those with Uruguay and Paraguay, with Justice Minister Sergio Moro.
"Opening trade is a risk that I take, because if [the outbreak] gets worse, it will fall on my lap," the president said at the inauguration event for his new health minister, Nelson Teich.
To slow the spread of the virus, Brazil closed its borders last month to nonresident foreigners, with some exceptions, although cargo shipments largely still flow freely.

Reuters contributed to this report.