Covid-19 spread “uncontrolled” in indigenous lands

indigenous covid
Health mission in indigenous land. Photo: Mayke Toscano/Secom-MT

Between August and October, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Yanomami Indigenous Territory jumped from 335 to 1,200 — a 250-percent increase — according to a report produced by researchers and leaders of the Yanomami and Ye’kwana ethnic groups.

In relation to the entire local population, this means that one in three members of these groups may have been infected by Covid-19.

Moreover, 23 of the 37 groups’ indigenous territories have already had confirmed cases of coronavirus. Data from the NGO Rede Pró-Yanomami and Ye’kwana indicates that there have been 23 deaths of indigenous people among those with confirmed and suspected cases. 

Further research data showed that less than 10 tests were carried out in 11 regions of the indigenous territory — and three others have seen no tests whatsoever.

A survey carried out by the Federal University of Minas Gerais in partnership with the Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA) rates the Yanomami as the most vulnerable people to the Covid-19 pandemic in the entire Brazilian Amazon.

The Yanomami territory is the largest indigenous reserve in Brazil and is located between the states of Roraima and Amazonas, bordering Venezuela.

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