REGISTRO, Brazil (Reuters) – Slaves who have fled in Brazil trying to live freely often establish communities called quilombos where their former owners cannot find them.
Daiane do Nascimento was tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) by the Butantan Institute in Quilombo Peropava, a community of African descent, first founded by runaway slaves, in Registro, Sao Paulo state, Brazil July 29, 2020. REUTERS / Amanda Perobelli
But coronaviruses have found their way to one, Peropava in the state of Sao Paulo, which has survived since slavery was abolished in 1888.
On Wednesday, 120 masked Peropava residents marched to submit mass tests for the new corona virus, after several community members had contracted the disease.
“We don’t think it will get here, a fairly remote place. But unfortunately it arrived, “said Valdir Cabral, a resident who has just recovered from COVID-19.
Cabral still spends his time resting in bed in his concrete house in the woods, chickens pecking to eat outside the door.
Health workers with the biomedical center of The Butantan Institute conduct tests by pricking fingers and dripping blood into the openings of a plastic rapid testing kit.
The agency did not announce how many people tested positive for the virus but said the results would be used to help prevent its spread.
The Registro, the municipality of about 56,000 people where Peropava is located, has registered 824 COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths from the disease, according to the local health secretary’s office.
Brazil is the country worst hit by a pandemic, after the United States. On Wednesday, Brazil kept a diary for COVID-19 new cases and related deaths, with 69,074 people sick and 1,595 people dead in a 24 hour period.
The Butantan Institute focuses on helping the most vulnerable communities, including indigenous Brazilians, who often have limited access to medical care.
“It is important to strengthen our activities in the poorest areas, the suburbs of big cities, small towns, in the sense of making them understand what is at stake and making them comply with preventive measures,” said Butantan director Dimas Covas.
Reporting by Pablo Garcia; Additional Reporting by Gabriel Araujo in Sao Paulo; Writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Richard Chang