Saturday, April 11, 2020

15-year-old boy from Amazon tribe dies of coronavirus

The 15-year-old boy from the Yanomami indigenous tribe lived in a remote village such as this one.

By Christopher Brito

A teenager part of one of the largest indigenous tribes in the Amazon has died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to Brazilian health officials. There are fears the coronavirus, which has already devastated much of the world, could wipe out remote indigenous tribes in South America.

Alvanei Xirizana, 15, died on Thursday in a hospital in the state of Roraima, Reuters reported, citing local health authorities. He belonged to the relatively isolated Yanomami tribe, whose more than 38,000 members occupy rainforests and mountains in northern Brazil and southern Venezuela, according to human rights group Survival International. Advocates say deforestation and development by miners and loggers, encouraged by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's policies, have threatened indigenous people's territory.

So far, two other indigenous people — an 87-year-old woman from Para and a man from Manaus — have died from coronavirus. Brazil has had more than 19,600 confirmed cases and over 1,000 deaths from COVID-19.  Read more >>