The Brazilian Air Force will fly nine tons of medical supplies to Recife, the capital of northeastern state Pernambuco. The material includes personal protective equipment (PPE) for health professionals, bottles of hand sanitizer, and medicines. The transport will be made in a C-130 Hercules military plane, expected to leave Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo at noon — with landing expected for 4 pm.
Last week, the Defense Ministry launched a Joint Operation Center to confront the Covid-19 crisis. According to the government, this form of “situation room” is an answer to requests from state and municipal authorities for the army’s support to tame the spread of the novel coronavirus. The operations center allows the Navy, Army, and Air Force to offer assistance for screening patients and setting up field hospitals.
According to newspaper Estadão, 62 active members of the Brazilian military have tested positive for Covid-19. The Defense Ministry, however, does not offer any detail whatsoever on the patients.
One case in particular has worried the Armed Forces: a Navy vessel which arrived in Rio de Janeiro last week with both its commander and deputy-commander having contracted the coronavirus — one other sailor is under quarantine. The vessel’s 240 crew members left Rio on March 10 for a mission of logistics support to Navy units in the South — having stopped in three ports: Santos (Brazil’s busiest), Itajaí, and Rio Grande.