BRAZIL, Brazil – Brazil’s Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, April 8, that authorities should hold talks with drug groups and militia groups in a poor favela environment about how to contain the new corona virus.
Brazil, that country hardest hit by a pandemic in Latin America, is preparing for potential destruction if a large outbreak erupts in its favelas, a dense environment that often lacks basic sanitation and health care infrastructure.
Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said the government must be realistic about who holds power in many such environments.
“We have to understand that these are areas where the country is often absent and the ones responsible are drug smugglers and militia groups,” he told a news conference.
“How do we build bridges for them? By talking, yes, with drug dealers, with militias, because they are also human, and they need help.”
He said the authorities had just launched a pilot project in one favela to manage the risk of coronavirus, but did not say where.
An estimated 11.5 million Brazilians live in the favela, around 6% of the population.
They often become scenes of street battles between armed gangs and police.
Mandetta advocated strict social distance measures to contain the virus, in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization.
He has clashed with his boss, right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who denies this closing down businesses and having people stay at home no need to damage the economy.
Brazil has confirmed nearly 16,000 cases of the corona virus, with 800 deaths so far. – Rappler.com
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