Coronavirus

Brazilian states in cut-throat competition over Covid-19 equipment

The state of Maranhão was forced to divert a Chinese shipment of ventilators through Africa to avoid losing it to foreign and domestic rivals

shipment equipment covid-19
Maranhão incredible journey for medical supplies. Photo: GEM/SECOM

On the evening of April 14, a cargo plane filled with 107 ventilators and 200,000 masks from China touched down at São Luis airport, in the northeastern state of Maranhão. In order to evade blockades and having the material seized by Brazil’s federal government, the state administration originally had the equipment sent to Ethiopia, before bringing it to Maranhão.

Dubbed by the Maranhão state government as a “war operation,” the endeavor involved 30 people and BRL 6 million donated from the private sector and illustrated how hard it is for Brazilian states to procure vital equipment for their...

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