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Novel Coronavirus Reaches the Isolated Amazon Tribe

Brazilian officials have warned of an approaching health disaster as they announced the first coronavirus case among highly indigenous groups across the Amazon region, known for its remoteness and vulnerability to foreign diseases.

Health workers reported that 15- year old, first Yanomami boy to be diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, was being treated at a hospital in Boa Vista and died because of the deadly COVID-19 on April 9. This has raised fears that disease might have infected his contacts since developing signs and symptoms in the last three weeks. The source of his sickness is still unknown, from where he caught this infection.

This new case is the second time that reports the demise of an indigenous individual here in Brazil. The number of affirmed cases among the nation’s clans presently remains at seven, dispersed in three Amazon states. These cases include four cases in Kokama family members contracted this disease from the western side of Amazonas. Reportedly a doctor returned back from the conference held in south Brazil and somehow he was unable to follow the protocols of self-isolation.

Isolated indigenous groups in the Amazon rainforest are vulnerable to illnesses that are brought from the outside world. The Yanomami rights activists said the boy had come in to contact with “many” different indigenous individuals after his symptoms started appearing.

The Hutukara Association accused “inadequate medical care” for the death of a 15-year-old boy, saying he went over about fourteen days without a legitimate analysis from the time he previously went to the medical clinic with respiratory manifestations.

The Northcentral part of Amazo, Pará, after post mortem reports requested by examiners confirmed that 87-year-old lady died because of the novel coronavirus. Grievers turned out for the memorial service in the month of March, unaware of the fact that she had the dangerous virus on her body and could still spread the disease. The participation of everyone at the death ceremony has mixed feelings of terror that a lot more people might be infected and would e known in the coming days, overwhelming already poor healthcare systems in that region.

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The archbishop of Porto Velho, Rondônia, and leader of the Catholic rights group Indigenist Missionary Council, Roque Paloschi said that owing to the high movement of individuals starting with one state o the next in Amazon, as well as the lack of strategies, there are chances of the quick spread of COVID-19 among the populations living in Amazônia, which could prompt debacle in both short and medium-term.

The medical case of a Yanomami youngster has made the headlines. Nearly 22,000 Yanomami people are living in remote in tough upland wilderness astride the border of Venezuela. Many of the villages have almost no communication to the outer world, yet their hidden gold reserve might bring a grave risk to the whole tribe. Yanomami pioneers have been begging authorities to suspend the miners for weeks. The adolescent belongs to the riverside community that is occupied by a series of mining campsites.

In an open letter to the federal government and health ministry, the Hutukara Yanomami warned that they must accomplish their work for maintaining a strategic distance from this new pandemic which could follow them home.

Activists are especially worried over the destiny of the Moxihatetema, where dozen of inhabitants have regularly maintained contact with outsiders, and with many Yanomami communities as well. Prospectors discovered gold only a few years before, only 18 miles from the town, before this COVID-19 threat emerged.  The leaders are fearful  that this community might be killed completely by a coronavirus if it emerges through the miners.

Amna Rana

Amna Rana, a writing enthusiast and a microbiologist. Her areas of interest are medical and health care. She writes about diseases, treatments, alternative therapies, lifestyles and the latest news. You can find her on Linkedin Amna Rana.

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