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Bolsonaro watered-down law that protects indigenous people against Covid-19
Bolsonaro watered-down law that protects indigenous people against Covid-19

The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro published, with vetoes, on Wednesday a new law aimed at protecting indigenous communities against Covid-19.

Among the points were those assuring access to drinking water, free distribution of hygiene products like soap and toothpaste, cleaning and disinfection materials for indigenous communities and mandatory emergency funds for indigenous people’s health.

Bolsonaro also removed articles regarding the emergency provision of additional hospital beds and intensive care units to indigenous people, and the acquisition of ventilators and blood oxygenation machines were also turned down.

In a blog post, the Articulation of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples (APIB), stated: "that indigenous leaders and organizations do not bend to government discourse and do not allow a government that is openly anti-indigenous to weaken and disunity the struggle that until now, indigenous peoples, with rare exceptions, have wisely managed to carry on."

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Facebook removes accounts linked to Bolsonaro's family
Screenshot of a post by one of the accounts
Screenshot of a post by one of the accounts Credit: Facebook Reproduction

Facebook announced Wednesday the removal of 35 accounts, 14 Pages, 1 Group and 38 Instagram accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior in Brazil. Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, Facebook investigation found links to individuals associated with the Social Liberal Party and some of the employees of the offices of Anderson Moraes, Alana Passos, Eduardo Bolsonaro, Flavio Bolsonaro and Jair Bolsonaro.

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Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for Covid-19
Jair Bolsonaro (centre) pictured at the United States Independence celebration on July 4.
Jair Bolsonaro (centre) pictured at the United States Independence celebration on July 4. Credit: Isac Nóbrega/PR

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for Covid-19, after being tested on Monday with developing symptoms, including a high temperature.

In an interview earlier today, Bolsonaro said: "It started on Sunday, with a certain indisposition, it got worse on Monday, with tiredness, indisposition and a fever of 38 degrees. The president's doctor, pointing out the Covid-19 contamination, went to do a CT scan at the hospital. The medical team decided to give hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. As I wake up a lot during the night, after midnight I felt an improvement, at 5 am I took the second dose, and I'm feeling good "

On July 4yh, Bolsonaro attended a celebration at the United States Embassy in Brasilia with some of his close allies and was photographed not using a mask.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil reports 65,000 Covid-19 related deaths
Sunset over Rio de Janeiro
Sunset over Rio de Janeiro Credit: unsplash.com/Agustín Diaz

According to a release by the country's health ministry, over 65,000 people have died from the novel Coronavirus in Brazil. After reporting another 20,229 new Covid-19 cases, the total number of cases surpasses 1,6 million. Despite rising numbers, bars and restaurants in Rio de Janeiro have reopened over the weekend.

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Jair Bolsonaro sanctions law about mandatory mask usage in public. Shops, churches and schools are excluded.
Jair Bolsonaro
Jair Bolsonaro Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has sanctioned a law making mask usage mandatory in public spaces, but he has vetoed their use in schools, churches and shops. Bolsonaro also vetoed articles requiring the free distribution of masks to the population and a campaign to explain why masks should be used.

Marcelo Freixo, a representative from Rio de Janeiro, tweeted: "He cancelled the mandatory use of masks in schools, shops and temples. And it also removed the duty of the public power to provide it to the poorest. We will overturn this criminal decision in Congress!"

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil Covid-19 confirmed cases near to 1.5 million, with close to 62,000 deaths
Brazil's Health Ministry Press Conference
Brazil's Health Ministry Press Conference Credit: Carolina Antunes/PR

The Brazilian Health Ministry announced Thursday its daily Covid-19 report with 48,105 new cases and 1,252 deaths. Since the beginning of the outbreak, Brazil accounted for 1,496,858 infected with a death toll of 61,884.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Amazon fires are the highest for June since 2007
Amazon fires captured from the ISS on August 24, 2019.
Amazon fires captured from the ISS on August 24, 2019. Credit: ESA / NASA – L. Parmitano (Public Domain)

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) announced the detection of 2,248 fire spots in the Amazon during June. The number is the highest recorded for the month since 2007. Also, with an average of 75 fires a day, June 2020 saw an increase of 20% compared to the same period in the previous year.

Activists say the Covid-19 outbreak exacerbates the problem, as they believe arson is likely to be even less monitored while authorities are dealing with the effects of the pandemic. Forest fires in Brazil are mainly started deliberately by illegal loggers and farmers wanting to quickly clear ground.

Historically, fire spots in the rainforest increase throughout the dry season, from July to September.

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Brazilian delivery apps workers go on strike
Brazilian delivery apps workers go on strike
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Over a thousand food delivery apps workers on motorcycles gathered in São Paulo on Wednesday to protest their work conditions, set by Uber, Colombia’s Rappi and Brazil’s iFood.

The deliverymen seek higher pay and better health measures, with Brazil now a Covid-19 epicentre and delivery workers facing exposure to the virus with their work in high demand.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil issues Covid-19 international border restrictions for 30 days
Rio de Janeiro view from the Sugar Loaf
Rio de Janeiro view from the Sugar Loaf Credit: Raphael Nogueira

The Brazilian Government published an ordinance restricting foreign nationals access to the country for 30 days.

"It is restricted, for thirty days, the entry into the country of foreigners of any nationality, by road, by other terrestrial means, by air or by water transport", says the ordinance.

Excluded from the restrictions does not apply are those arriving by air "to establish residency for a specific time and who hold a temporary visa for the following purposes:" research, teaching or academic extension; study; job; making investment; family meeting; artistic or sporting activities with a fixed-term contract ".

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Brazil to start production of experimental Covid-19 vaccine
Brazil to start production of experimental Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

The Brazilian government has announced on Saturday that it will start producing an experimental Covid-19 vaccine locally. The government has signed an agreement worth $127 million with AstraZeneca who developed the experimental vaccine. According to the World Health Organization the vaccine is considered the world's leading candidate which has been developed by researchers at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Human trials are still undergoing and final proof of the effect against Covid-19 is still pending.

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Brazil registers 40,673 new cases of Covid-19, 1,180 deaths
Covid-19 testing in Uruçuca, Bahia
Covid-19 testing in Uruçuca, Bahia Credit: Gustavo Lima Brandão

The consortium of Brazilian media companies, compiling data from state health authorities, announced Thursday Brazil recorded 40,673 new confirmed cases of the Covid-19 in the past 24 hours as well as 1,180 deaths.

The country has now a death toll of 55,054, and 1,233,147 confirmed cases.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Judge orders Jair Bolsonaro to wear a face mask in public
Jair Bolsonaro (without mask) in Brasilia, Brazil
Jair Bolsonaro (without mask) in Brasilia, Brazil Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been ordered by federal judge Renato Borelli to wear a face mask when circulating in public in Brasilia or face a $390 per day fine.

Borelli stated the president "has exposed other people to the contagion of a disease that has caused national commotion,".

The same decision also applies to all employees and contractors of the federal government in Brasilia.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil is close to a deal to produce Oxford Covid-19 vaccine
Brazil is close to a deal to produce Oxford Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

Brazilian interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said Brazil is close to signing a contract to produce a trial vaccine developed by the Oxford University and supported by AstraZeneca.

The country started human clinical trials for the potential vaccine this weekend with 3,000 people in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first country outside the United Kingdom to test the vaccine.

Oxford researchers expect to launch the vaccine by year-end.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil is losing a generation of indigenous leaders to Covid-19
Members of the Munduruku people demonstrating in Brasilia
Members of the Munduruku people demonstrating in Brasilia Credit: Marcelo Camargo/ Agencia Brasil

The death of chief Paulinho Paiakan, an iconic defender of the Amazon rainforest, was the most recent on a growing Covid-19 death toll that already took Bep Karoti Xikrin, chief of the Xikrin, and another ten leaders of the Munduruku people.

The indigenous organization APIB counted at least 332 Covid-19 deaths, and 7,208 confirmed cases across 110 communities. “We are facing extermination,” said its executive coordinator, Dinamam Tuxá.

Tuxá said Brazil’s Funai indigenous agency has taken too long to send emergency food kits to people isolating in their villages, forcing them to risk infection by traveling to nearby towns for emergency government payments.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil's Covid-19 death toll over 50,000
Memorial for victims of Covid-19, São Paulo, Brazil
Memorial for victims of Covid-19, São Paulo, Brazil Credit: Elineudo Meira

The consortium of Brazilian media companies, compiling data from state health authorities, announced Saturday that Brazil has now a death toll of 50,058, and 1,070,139 confirmed cases.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil reports record-breaking number of 54,771 new Covid-19 cases in 24-hours

Brazil has passed the mark of 1 million Covid-19 cases and nears the 50,000 deaths mark. Currently, 48,954 deaths have been reported with 1,206 deaths on Friday alone. The country also has reported a record-breaking number of 54,771 new infected people on Friday.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil's Education Minister steps down
Abraham Weintraub, former Education Minister
Abraham Weintraub, former Education Minister Credit: Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

Brazilian Education Minister Abraham Weintraub on Thursday announced he was stepping down to take a role at the World Bank.

Weintraub, a fervent ideological defender of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, made his announcement in a short video posted to his Twitter page, reading from a prepared statement and then hugging the president.

In recent days Brazilian news sources speculated Weintraub was about to be fired, particularly after his comments about the Supreme Court. The court is currently overseeing a series of potentially explosive investigations involving Bolsonaro and his inner circle, and tension has soared between the president and its justices.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Mayor of São Paulo diagnosed with Covid-19
Bruno Covas
Bruno Covas Credit: Governo de São Paulo

Bruno Covas, mayor of São Paulo, announced Saturday he tested positive for Covid-19. The mayor has no symptoms and was tested for coronavirus during a routine checkup.

Earlier this year Covas had already beaten his two previous tumours into remission with chemotherapy.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Rio de Janeiro gangs are pushing medication and supplies to their communities
View from Rocinha, a favela in Rio de Janeiro
View from Rocinha, a favela in Rio de Janeiro Credit: Rasmus Bang

CNN reports that the gangs in the Rio de Janeiro's favelas implemented a system to provide hand sanitiser, medicine and cash handouts to a population with no access to the Brazilian welfare system.

"Doctors from the community are helping the sick people voluntarily," a gang member said. "The people who have money can get assistance. The ones who haven't just can't.".

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil has now the second-highest number of Covid-19 deaths
Brazil's Health Ministry Press Conference
Brazil's Health Ministry Press Conference Credit: Anderson Riedel/PR

Brazil's Health Ministry announced Thursday 909 new Covid-19 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 41,828. The South-American country has now the second-highest number of Covid-19 deaths, after the United States.

The number of infections rose to 828,810 after the report of 25,982 new confirmed cases on June 12.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Covid-19 death toll in Brazil reaches 40,000 with 800,000 confirmed infections
Covid-19 testing in Brasilia, Brazil
Covid-19 testing in Brasilia, Brazil Credit: Roque de Sá/Agência Senado

Brazil's Health Ministry announced Thursday 1,239 new Covid-19 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 40,919. The country has now the highest daily average for Covid-19 deaths.

The number of infections rose to 802,824 after 30,412 new confirmed cases were reported on June 11.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Needing support in Congress, Bolsonaro restores Ministry of Communications
Fábio Faria
Fábio Faria Credit: Billy Boss/Câmara dos Deputados

The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced Wednesday on his Facebook account he has decided to recreate the Ministry of Communications, that had been closed in 2016. In this new configuration, the ministry will control the government’s €24 million advertising budget and the distribution of radio and tv broadcast licenses.

The head of the new ministry will be Fabio Faria of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) party and also a son-in-law of the owner of Brazil’s third-largest television network.

Bolsonaro has approached the PSD as part of a strategy to build sufficient support in Congress to block any of two dozen pending requests to impeach him.

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Rio Janeiro State Governor to face impeachment inquiry
Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel
Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel Credit: Carlos Magno

The Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro (Alerj) voted today favourably to initiate impeachment proceedings against right-wing Governor Wilson Witzel. Before today's vote the Assembly had 12 distinct impeachment petitions, for the process all of them will be combined.

A few weeks ago Brazilian federal police raided the residences of the Governor, under the allegation Witzel and his wife Helena led a sprawling criminal operation in which her law firm was used to receive payment from a company that won state coronavirus contracts.

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Government must publish full Covid-19 data, says Brazil's Supreme Court justice
Justice Alexandre de Moraes
Justice Alexandre de Moraes Credit: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Ag Brasil

Alexandre de Moraes, Brazil's Supreme Court justice, ruled the Health Ministry must revert to releasing the full data set as it used to do.

During the weekend, the Brazilian Health Ministry abruptly removed troves of detailed Covid-19 data and said it would no longer publish cumulative totals. Last week it pushed back the release of the numbers late into the evening and past "Jornal Nacional", Brazil's main news program.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil Covid-19 confirmed cases over 700,000, more than 37,000 deaths
Brazil Covid-19 confirmed cases over 700,000, more than 37,000 deaths
Credit: Paulo Vitor

A consortium of Brazilian media companies, compiling data from state health authorities, announced Monday that Brazil has now 710,887 Covid-19 confirmed cases with a death toll of 37,312.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian BNDES to suspend debt payments by local governments
Gustavo Montezano
Gustavo Montezano Credit: Tania Rego/ Agencia Brasil

Gustavo Montezano, BNDES president, announced Monday the development bank had suspended the payment of interest and principal on debt owed by states and cities through the end of the year.

Montezano said this move could save states up to $790 million, and the bank would also make transfers to 13 states.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Former Health Secretary: Brazil could already have 4 million Covid-19 cases
Wanderson de Oliveira during a press conference
Wanderson de Oliveira during a press conference Credit: José Dias/PR

Wanderson de Oliveira, the former Ministry of Health’s National Surveillance Secretary of Brazil, stated on Sunday that the actual number of Covid-19 infections in the country could be six times higher than the officially reported, totalling between 3.5 and 4 million cases.

During a webcast, Oliveira criticised the quality of the testing used in the country.

Oliveira resigned on May 25 over how President Jair Bolsonaro has handled the pandemic.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian Government hides Covid-19 historical data amid rising death toll
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with his cabinet
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with his cabinet Credit: Carolina Antunes/PR

Brazil is limiting the amount of data it publishes about Covid-19 cases and deaths as the government of President Jair Bolsonaro grows uncomfortable with the criticism about its handling of the outbreak.

The Health Ministry of Brazil announced Friday it would only be reporting cases and deaths in the past 24 hours, no longer giving a total figure as most countries do.

Former Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said on Saturday: “From a health perspective, it’s a tragedy ... Not giving out the information makes the state more harmful than the disease.”. Mandetta also likened Bolsonaro's orders to an information blackout on a meningitis epidemic during the nation’s military regime.

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Brazil: Jair Bolsonaro threatens to pull out of WHO
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets evangelical leaders
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets evangelical leaders Credit: Isac Nóbrega/PR

President Jair Bolsonaro threatened on Friday to follow the US and pull Brazil out of the World Health Organization. The thread follows a warning from the U.N. agency to Latin American governments about the risk of lifting lockdowns before slowing the spread of the coronavirus throughout the region.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil passes 600,000 Covid-19 cases with more than 34,000 deaths
Brazil's Health Ministry Press Conference
Brazil's Health Ministry Press Conference Credit: Júlio Nascimento//PR

Brazil's Health Ministry announced Thursday a daily record of 1,473 fatalities took its total Covid-19 death toll to 34,021. The country has now the third-highest number of Covid-19 deaths, after the United States and the United Kingdom.

The number of infections rose to 614,941 after 30,924 new confirmed cases were reported yesterday.