Newsdeck

COVID-19

Brazil’s court rules government must protect Amazon communities from coronavirus

Brazil’s court rules government must protect Amazon communities from coronavirus
epa08519168 Doctors from the Armed Forces carry out rapid COVID-19 tests to Yanomami indigenous people in the Waikas region of Auaris, Brazil, 30 June 2020. EPA-EFE/Joedson Alves -FOTOGALERIA-

BRASILIA, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Brazil's Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that President Jair Bolsonaro's government must adopt measures to stop the spread of novel coronavirus to the country's vulnerable indigenous communities.

A majority of the justices voted to give the government 30 days to draw up a plan to reduce the threat to indigenous people from COVID-19, which could wipe out some tribes.

Measures should include sanitary barriers to stop outsiders entering protected tribal lands and the isolation of invaders, but the court stopped short of ordering the immediate expulsion of illegal loggers and miners that indigenous leaders say are spreading the virus.

The action was sought by Brazil’s main indigenous umbrella organization APIB, backed by six opposition political parties that have criticized Bolsonaro for denying the gravity of the second worst coronavirus outbreak outside the United States.

According to APIB, 631 indigenous people have died from COVID-19 and 22,325 cases have been confirmed among Brazil’s 850,000 indigenous people. Half of Brazil’s 300 indigenous tribes have confirmed infections.

The pandemic endangers indigenous communities with no access to healthcare in remote parts of the Amazon and whose communal living under large dwellings make social distancing impossible.

Tribes face the loss of cultural traditions with the death of their elders stricken by the virus.

On Wednesday, Chief Aritana Yawalapiti, one of Brazil’s most influential indigenous leaders who led the people of Upper Xingu in central Brazil and helped create an indigenous park there, died from COVID-19 aged 71.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Editing by Richard Chang)

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.