Hospitals in tiny Guinea-Bissau are “overwhelmed” by the pandemic

Hospitals in the tiny west African nation of Guinea-Bissau are being overwhelmed by coronavirus patients, according to humanitarians.

Almost 10 per cent of the country’s 2,000 health workers have contracted Covid-19, a World Health Organization expert said on Tuesday, warning that hospitals were close to being overwhelmed.

“The three main Bissau hospitals are currently facing rooms filled with Covid-19 patients and a breakdown in essential medical services,” said Joana Cortez, from the WHO. “It is a chaotic situation.”

The nation of 1.8 million ranks among the poorest in the world. It has been hit by three military coups since the turn of the millennium and is a stalking ground for Latin American cartels trafficking cocaine to Europe.

Its healthcare system is desperately underfunded and is now struggling to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has infected more than 1,400 people and killed at least 15.

Authorities have also raised the alarm over a lack of oxygen to treat severe cases of Covid-19 and high quality protective gear for workers.

Dr Cortez said 176 health workers in the country had tested positive for the coronavirus.

In late April, the country began to see a flood of high profile coronavirus cases, including th prime minister along with at least four ministers.

The country imposed a lockdown in March but began to lift measures slowly after two months.

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