Tag Archives: South America

Brazil recorded 721 deaths from COVID-19 as of Sunday | Instant News

RIO DE JANEIRO, February 28 (Reuters) – Brazil recorded 721 deaths from COVID-19 as of Sunday and 34,027 new confirmed cases, according to data released by the country’s Ministry of Health.

The number shows a slight decrease after five consecutive days of at least 1,300 daily deaths and 60,000 cases. But the South American country continues to face a second, severe and stubborn wave that has now lasted more than three months.

Brazil has now recorded a total of 254,942 deaths from the coronavirus and 10,551,259 total confirmed cases. (Reporting by Gram Slattery; editing by Jonathan Oatis)


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Missing ‘library’: Natives of Brazil mourn the deaths of elderly people from COVID | Instant News

RIO DE JANEIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In January last year, indigenous journalist Ihunovoti Terena interviewed tribal elders across Brazil at an indigenous gathering in Piaruçu, a village in Mato Grosso state.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Brazil two months later, and began suing many indigenous leaders, he realized he had recorded some of them one last time – and that other knowledge that was not recorded or passed down was lost forever.

“Many … who were there lost their lives,” said Ihunovoti, 28.

Some 970 native Brazilians have died since the COVID-19 pandemic began last March, according to a tally by APIB, Brazil’s largest indigenous association, which represents many of the country’s 900,000 indigenous people.

At least 223 of those who died were aged 60 or older – but that figure could be higher, because the APIB cannot record the ages of most of the victims, the data show.

The deaths represent a huge cultural loss of indigenous peoples, where a lot of traditional knowledge is passed down from generation to generation in conversation, said adat representatives.

“Our elders are custodians of tradition, custodians of wisdom, advisors and holders of unique spiritual knowledge,” said Nara Baré, coordinator of COIAB, the largest umbrella group for Brazil’s Amazonian indigenous people.

“Seeing them leave is, on the one hand, witnessing another aspect of the destruction of our people.”


Partial data collected by APIB shows three indigenous communities in Brazil that have been hardest hit by the pandemic: the Terena, Kokama and Xavante. Each of them lost more than 50 members to COVID-19.

In the first months of the pandemic, Lindomar Terena saw as many as four of its citizens die on the same day. At least 58 Terenas – who live in southern Brazil – lost their lives last year.

Lindomar, who is part of the council of the Terena people, now hopes he has recorded the stories and traditions told by the lost elders.

“In some Terena villages there are … dances that our young people no longer understand,” he said.

Also missing, he says, are long-held traditional fortune-telling skills.

Some of Terena’s dead elders knew how to tell when it would rain, and how the moon’s phase affected plant growth, Lindomar said.

In a society where parents effectively act as “libraries” for knowledge and traditions, the virus has left gaping holes in shelves, he said.

“The identities of (our) people are destroyed. Our people see that our library is damaged. “

The indigenous Kokama community, in the Amazon region, lost at least 59 people to the coronavirus, APIB data shows – although Glades Kokama, one of its leaders, said the figure was close to 92.

Among the dead were elders fluent in the native language of the disappearing community, and with knowledge of traditional medicine and food, he said.

The majority of deaths from the Kokama pandemic occurred last year, before vaccinations against the virus became available.

In Brazil, indigenous peoples living in nature reserves are now listed as priority vaccinations, and many communities are already immunized.

Some, however, reject vaccines – and the elderly can be among those most strongly against it, Glades said.

“Some (elders) believe in the vaccine, but some don’t. We try to explain it to them, but we have to respect the elders, “he said.

The refusal to be vaccinated is speeding up efforts to try to log their knowledge and insights, in case the worst happens, Glades said.

“We have to write everything down, because we are at risk.”


Crisanto Rudz Tseremey’wa, president of Fepoimt – a federation of indigenous peoples in Mato Grosso – and a representative of the Xavante tribe, said 68 in his indigenous community had died, including his parents.

The older son is studying in Brasilia, and when the boy returns home, he should be taught the traditions of the nation by the elders in the family.

Now Tseremey’wa is the only one left to do so.

“I was with my son, who said that this was an irreparable loss,” said Tseremey’wa. “This pandemic is not about numbers (who died), it’s about family. It’s about ancient knowledge. “

In some places, the deaths of elders due to COVID-19 have accelerated ongoing efforts by indigenous youth to record more of the community’s wisdom, traditions and history to try to prevent its loss.

Some of Terena’s youth, for example, have made video and audio recordings of the history and culture of their communities after fires that previously destroyed written records, Ihunovoti said.

Now they are increasing their efforts.

“If the community starts promoting this, the videotape… will be there forever. Not only in memory, but digitally, ”he said.

Reported by Fabio Teixeira @ffctt; Edited by Laurie Goering. Please acknowledge the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity, covering the lives of people around the world who struggle to live free or fair. Visit news.trust.org


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Brazil is working to import more AstraZeneca vaccines to prevent bottlenecks to local production | Instant News

RIO DE JANEIRO, February 26 (Reuters) – Brazil’s biomedical institute Fiocruz has started talks with AstraZeneca Plc on alternative sources of the COVID-19 vaccine in case of possible issues surrounding the local production of the injection, a director told Reuters on Friday.

Maurício Zuma, who heads the Fiocruz unit that produces the vaccine, said it still aims to produce 110 million doses in the second half of this year, but the complexity of the production process and regulation in Brazil could hamper those plans.

As a result, he said he was exploring alternatives such as importing more active ingredients or ready-to-use dosages.

AstraZeneca injections were supposed to be a major pillar of Brazil’s vaccination campaign, starting with imports and then moving to domestic production, but their rollout was stalled.

“To produce a vaccine here is a whole process,” he said. “We think we can prepare the vaccine by the end of the third quarter, but whether we can successfully deliver it will depend on regulatory questions.”

Brazilian health regulator Anvisa has come under increasing criticism for being slow and making heavy demands on vaccine manufacturers.

“We knew we were going to have an accident in a process that would normally take years,” Zuma added.

AstraZeneca has agreed to transfer the active ingredient technology in the COVID-19 vaccine to Fiocruz to enable complete local production. But the agreement has not been signed due to the complexity of the deal, Zuma said. (Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro Writing by Stephen Eisenhammer Editing by Matthew Lewis)


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Brazil’s unemployment rate fell to 13.9% in the quarter to December | Instant News

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s unemployment rate ended last year at 13.9%, figures showed on Friday, extending its recent decline as workers returning to the labor market found jobs, but the average unemployment rate in 2020 was the highest since comparable records began in 2012..

FILE PHOTOS: A woman writes on her phone job opportunities from a list posted on a lamppost in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, September 30, 2020. REUTERS / Amanda Perobelli

That was down from 14.1% in the three months to November, statistics agency IBGE said, in line with the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists and slipped further than the record 14.6% in the three months to September.

Brazil’s unemployment rate ended 2019 at 11.0%.

The average unemployment rate last year was 13.5%, said the IBGE, up from 11.9% a year earlier and the highest since the series began eight years ago.

The IBGE figure shows 86.2 million Brazilians are employed, up 4.5%, or 3.7 million people, from the July-September period, although still down 8.9%, or 8.4 million people, from the same period the previous year.

The number of Brazilians officially unemployed in the three months to December fell slightly to 13.9 million from 14.1 million in the previous three months, the IBGE said, but that was up nearly 20% from a year ago.

The underemployment rate fell to 28.7% from 30.3% in the July-September period, while the hidden unemployment rate averaged last year to a record 28.1%, the IBGE said.

The number of unemployed fell 1.1 million to 32 million, said the IBGE. That is still 22.5% higher than the same period the previous year, or an increase of nearly 6 million people.

The workforce reached 100.1 million people, up 3.5 million from the three months to September, and the number of people leaving the total workforce fell 2.3 million to 76.3 million, the IBGE said.

However, compared to the previous year, the workforce was still down by 6.1 million people, and there were nearly 11 million more people who were completely discharged from the workforce, said the IBGE.

Reporting by Jamie McGeever; editing by Barbara Lewis


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GM will leave workers at Brazilian factories for 20 days, stopping production | Instant News

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – General Motors Co said on Friday that it would suspend all workers at one of its Brazilian factories for 20 days in March for maintenance and renewal of plant lines, leading to a production suspension.

The factory, at Gravatai in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, produces the compact Chevrolet Onix, which has been Brazil’s best-selling car for several consecutive years.

Edson Rosso, a trade union representative at Gravatai, said GM would leave some workers off for more than 20 days.

He said that while GM would restart production on March 20, some workers would face up to five months of leave as a way to slow production due to parts shortages that have disrupted auto production around the world.

GM does not directly handle additional leave but says its South American supply chains have been disrupted during the pandemic.

“This has the potential to affect our production schedule on a temporary and partial basis,” said GM.

Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Edited by Steve Orlofsky


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