Covid-19 hits the native Brazilian Xavante, with 13 deaths in 5 days

According to the latest figures released by the government’s Special Indigenous Health Service (SESAI), at least 13 Xavante have killed people in the past five days, and another 50 cases have been confirmed in the same period.

A total of 16 Covid-19 deaths have now been recorded in Xavante territory, located in the corner of Mato Grosso state in the Amazon, making it the second most severely affected indigenous territory in Brazil, according to Sesa. Indigenous communities in Alto Solimoes have recorded 25 pandemic-related deaths, the agency reported.
Last week, Xavante Crisanto leader Rudzo Tseremeywá announced video about yourself in a hospital bed on social media. He and his parents were infected in June. In the video, he warned Xavante people of the severity of the disease and begged them to seek treatment immediately if they start to feel symptoms.

At first, the community did not believe the virus would enter Xavante’s territory, Lucio Lucio Terowa’a, secretary of the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Mato Grosso, told CNN. Local authorities have not drawn up an emergency plan to fight the virus or raise awareness of safeguards, he added. “That’s why we have this rapid pollution,” Terowa’a said.

It’s Brazil National Indian Foundation, FUNAI, a government agency that oversees Indigenous affairs, set up roadblocks in all nine Xavante territories earlier this year. “But it arrived late, the disease had already entered,” said Terowa’a, who lost six people close to her family in Covid-19.

About 22,000 natives live in the territories of Xavante, surrounded by soybean farms and livestock ranches. As of last Tuesday, 126 people of Xavante have been infected with Covid-19, and another 46 people are suspected, according to SESAI.

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In Barra dos Garças, the municipality where the indigenous land of São Marcos lives, where Terowa’a and his family live, two-thirds of all hospitalizations last week were Xavante people. Terowa’a is worried the hospital will collapse in the coming weeks. “If (the virus) spreads further, it will not be able to offer treatment to everyone,” he said.

According to SESAI, 156 Indigenous people in Brazil have died since June 30, and 6,488 have been infected with the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

According to the census of Brazil, the Association of Indigenous Peoples (APIB), which includes cases and deaths of indigenous residents living in urban areas (while SESAI includes only those living in traditional villages), 380 natives died, and 9,414 were infected with Covid-19 by 28 June.
In total, cases of coronavirus have increased in Brazil. Towards Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins global tracker, Brazil recorded more than 1.4 million cases and the death toll ended at 60,000.

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