SAO PAULO, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) — The mayor of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, began his second term in office Friday, pledging to make more hospital beds available to COVID-19 patients an “urgent priority.”
“We are going to gradually put hospitals in full steam ahead. The urgent priority is to open beds for COVID-19 in the city,” Bruno Covas said during his swearing-in ceremony.
According to Brazil’s Ministry of Health, the city accounts for 402,835 of the 1,466,191 confirmed cases registered in the state of Sao Paulo, and 15,695 of the 46,775 COVID-19 deaths statewide.
Among the mayor’s priorities is also the return to face-to-face classes at public schools to “not compromise the future of millions of young people and children.”
“We have to guarantee the resumption of face-to-face classes in a safe way,” said Covas. “During the pandemic we adopted measures so that no student was left behind, but we know that this was not and is not enough, either due to unequal access to digital media” or other reasons.
Nearly 5,500 mayors across the country took office on Friday, following their electoral victories in November local elections.