Inside Brazil's Covid wards where patients are cared for in corridors by loved ones

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

Family members are having to care for their relatives in the corridors of overwhelmed hospitals in Manaus, Brazil, as the city's healthcare system struggles to deal with the surge of coronavirus patients.

Doctors and healthcare professionals in the city are stretched desperately thin due to the crippling impact Covid-19 has had on its population.

Although research suggests around 76% of the city's 2.2 million population were infected with the virus during the first wave, there are fears among experts that the new Brazilian variant may be reinfecting the city.

Video by ITV News Video Producer Aspel Brown

Hospital beds across Manaus are at full capacity, leaving critically ill patients awaiting care in ill-equipped corridors.

For those lucky enough to be given oxygen, which is in short supply across the region, it is often given to them by volunteers and relatives due to the lack of hospital staff needed to treat those most in need.

A Covid-19 patient is taken to hospital in the back of a taxi. Credit: ITV News

Across the city, people queue up to buy oxygen tanks from private suppliers in an attempt to save family and friends.

At the hospital, Ronaldo Vasconcelos fanned his 61-year-old father in a corridor to keep him cool. His father's heart had stopped, but he is now breathing again. "It's a mess here," he said. "People need oxygen yet three, four or five people are sharing an oxygen cylinder.

Coronavirus victims are not given a proper funeral as Brazil struggles to deal with the pandemic. Credit: ITV News

"What happened to the oxygen that was donated? Where are they?"

For those who don't survive, there is no funeral service. Instead, they are placed in the city's graveyard without a proper send off. Hundreds of freshly-dug holes have been filled already this year.

Andria Feitosa's 86-year-old grandfather is one of Brazil's many victims. He passed away after he was left in the corridor for two days, with no ventilator available to help him breathe.

She said: "He just had oxygen, they hadn't got a bed or anything. He really needed to go to the intensive care unit."

For those lucky enough to get a hospital bed in Manaus, the conditions are crammed and staff are not equip with adequate PPE. Credit: ITV News

But the problems in Manaus do not stop there. The whole healthcare system from top to bottom is in disarray.

Footage shot by ITV News shows a critically ill Covid patient driven to the hospital in the back of a taxi. The patient, struggling to breathe, is put on a stretcher and brought inside the hospital.

And the volunteers treating their relatives infected with coronavirus are doing so without adequate PPE. They are then leaving the hospital every day, many using public transport. While they may not have an alternative, this all puts other people at risk of infection.

Unfortunately for Brazil, a country which has suffered more than 200,000 coronavirus deaths, it is a cycle which looks unlikely to stop any time soon.