• Friday, Jul 10, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:42 pm

Brazil military moves to protect Indigenous people from Covid-19 deep in Amazon forest

  • Published at 11:38 am July 1st, 2020
Indigenous people in Brazil test for Covid-19
A member of the Brazilian Armed Forces medical team takes a Covid-19 test from a child from the indigenous Yanomami ethnic group, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), at the Waikas region in the municipality of Auaris, state of Roraima, Brazil June 30, 2020 REUTERS

The Yekuana, who have access to the internet and know more about the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic, were the most frightened of contact, while the Yanomami interacted easily

Brazil’s military delivered protective supplies and medicines on Tuesday by helicopter to isolated Amazon indigenous communities bordering Venezuela and tested frightened members for Covid-19.

None tested positive to the rapid finger-prick tests, but the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to decimate hundreds of Amazon tribes that have no immunity to external diseases and whose communal lifestyle rules out social distancing.

The operation to help the Yanomami who live on Brazil’s largest reservation is aimed at countering criticism that the right-wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro is not doing enough to protect indigenous people from contagion.

“The main goal of this joint operation by the armed forces is to track Covid-19s in the nearby villages,” naval medic Captain Jarbas de Souza said.

The Army airlifted supplies from the Roraima state capital of Boa Vista on a Blackhawk helicopter to a military frontier post deep in the rainforest, with boxes of face masks, alcohol gel, aprons, gloves, tests and medicines, including 13,500 pills of the controversial anti-malaria drug chloroquine.

Apprehensive Yanomami and Yekuana people, barefoot and wearing masks, lined up to be tested or seen by doctors for other health issues in a nearby village. Babies cried after the finger pricks.

“They are scared,” said Elaine Maciel, of the regional office of the government’s indigenous affairs agency Funai.

“It is an unknown virus to them, as it is for us. Many preferred to isolate themselves and not come to see the medical team as a way of avoiding contagions,” she said.

Maciel said the Yekuana, who have access to the internet and know more about the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic, were the most frightened of contact, while the Yanomami interacted easily, exchanging gifts with the outsiders, their craftwork for bars of soap and batteries.

Brazilian Minister of Defense Fernando Azevedo, a retired army general, will visit the operation at the Auaris border post on Wednesday.

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail