Covid-19 in Brazil

The President fails, an indigenous communities go into voluntary isolation (Press Release)

Several indigenous communities of Brazil have announced their intention to go into voluntary isolation to protect themselves from the corona epidemic in the country. Following the example of two communities in the federal state of Maranhão in the north-east of the country, the Ashaninka in the west of Brazil have now decided to take this measure as well. On behalf of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), Yvonne Bangert, expert on indigenous communities, stated: "They will stay in the depths of the forests of their territory, to which outsiders have no legal access. Since they cannot expect any support from the state or other means of protection from the coming wave of infection, they have to help themselves." Solidarity measures for the indigenous communities are coordinated by the indigenous umbrella organization APIB. "Donations are currently being collected to provide remote indigenous communities with hygiene articles and necessary medicines," Bangert said. "Even groups that are not completely isolated should stay among themselves if possible."

So far, Brazil has only registered about three thousand corona cases and a few dozen deaths – but since the disease is known to spread very quickly without drastic countermeasures, a high number of unreported cases is to be expected. Health experts in the country fear that the situation will become much worse very soon. However, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro is ignoring the experiences of other countries as well as scientific projections. He continues to play down the pandemic as a "little flu" and calls on his countrymen to go about their lives as usual.

The governors of various regions of Brazil are now openly opposing their president – even those who have supported him for years. Against his demands, they have imposed curfews and travel restrictions. Some have openly criticized his misleading statements, emphasizing that the president should lead and unite the people. Many Brazilians are doubting whether he is willing and able to do so. There is much resentment against the President, even among the non-indigenous population of Brazil. Every evening, thousands of people stand at the windows of their homes, drumming with pots and spoons as a form of protest against the president.