In Peru, the desperate search of oxygen for the sick of the coronavirus

Au Pérou, la quête désespérée d’oxygène pour les malades du coronavirus

Tanks of all sizes lined up on the sidewalk in front of a store in peru : a hundred people, some since dawn, lined up to buy the oxygen that would keep alive their loved ones with the COVID-19.

“One patient in order to find a little oxygen, as a patient, someone from our family in a serious condition, and needs it every day,” says Guillermo Arias, a 53-year-old outside a store in the port city of Callao, near Lima.

At the same time, in front of the door of the hospital Dos de Mayo, Lima, other people are in quest of the precious gas.

Peru is facing a shortage of oxygen because of the pandemic. The government ensures that it will import, and declared that he was now considered a ” health resource strategic medical use is a priority compared to industrial use “.

According to the social Security (Essalud), which manages 400 hospitals and firms, the demand has been multiplied by five since the beginning of the health crisis.

“Patients no longer have oxygen to the interior (of the hospital), I had to buy two balloons so that my father can be transferred,” says Olga Bravo, 44 years of age.

“We can’t find oxygen, I am especially concerned for my mother, because he will need a lot and the hospital has more,” laments Lady Savalla, 35 years.

The shortage first hit the institutions of the peruvian Amazon, and then reached the capital Lima and port of Callao, on the right side, where there are 10 of the 33 million Peruvians.

The prices have exploded : “Before, it was 30 floors (nine dollars) per cubic meter, at present, it is 60 soil ($18). How to do it? If people have more oxygen, they die “, asks Jorge Contreras, in which a close relative is sick.

10 000 people are hospitalized

With more than 183 198 cases, of which 5301 deaths, according to the latest official figures Thursday night, the Peru is the second country in Latin America in number of contaminated, after Brazil.

More than 9000 patients with the new coronavirus are currently hospitalized, putting the health system on the edge of the break.

“The lack of oxygen is a risk that is latent in several regions, not only in Lima, explains the head of the college of physicians of the region of Chiclayo, Manuel Soria.

In the amazonian region of Loreto, there is now oxygen in Iquitos, the regional capital, but in remote areas located in the heart of the jungle have not been replenished.

“We need oxygen, because we need to send to the peripheral areas, where there are big needs. You need to install plants to supply the population, but the size of the region makes it difficult to transport, ” says the regional head of health, Carlos Calampa.

“The patients for the coronavirus have the oxygen that it gives (usually) to only those patients in a critical state that have gone through operations at high risk. There are five times more, it is a hyperinflation because the patients need oxygen at very high speed “, says the spokesperson of Essalud, Caesar Chaname, radio RPP.

“We’re going to put in place a plan, as we have done with drugs (in may to avoid the price increase), we’re going to do with oxygen,” promised the minister of Health, Victor Zamora.

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