With Manaus in crisis, Brazil’s Air Force sends top cargo plane on U.S. training mission

The Air Force's KC-390 plane will spend two weeks in the U.S.
The Air Force’s KC-390 plane will spend two weeks in the U.S.

Amid the collapse of the hospital network in the Amazonian city of Manaus — with an extreme shortage of oxygen and patients being transferred to other states — the Brazilian Air Force has sent its largest KC-390 cargo plane to the U.S. for parachute training.

According to a statement on the Defense Ministry website, 203 members of the Army and 21 from the Air Force will take place in Operation Culminating, to be held in Louisiana next week.

In the statement, the head of the operation, Colonel Mauricio Valença Cruz, says that he hopes the mission “will be the beginning of a series of exercises to contribute to the development of the military doctrine and the strengthening of ties with the U.S. Army.”

This morning, the Air Force carried out the first transport of Covid-19 patients from Manaus to other states. Nine patients and five doctors were flown to the city of Teresina, in the neighboring state of Piauí. The Air Force provided two C-99 aircraft to carry out the transfers. 

Brazil recorded another 1,151 coronavirus deaths on Thursday, while President Jair Bolsonaro hosted a live social media broadcast alongside Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, arguing in favor of “early treatment” against Covid-19.

This morning, Mr. Bolsonaro said that the federal government has “done its part” to help Manaus and the state of Amazonas. “We are always doing what we have to do, right? The problem in Manaus, it’s terrible there, but we’ve done our part.”