Indigenous Brazilians launch coronavirus tracing app

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Indigenous Brazilians launch coronavirus tracing app

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Indigenous and environmental organizations in Brazil launched an app on Friday to alert indigenous communities to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in their country.

"The application regularly maps and updates the situation with regard to the pandemic in cities within a radius of 100 kilometers from indigenous areas," according to the coordination of the indigenous organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) and the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) in a joint Statement.

The "COVID-19 Indigenous Alert" app aims to help indigenous peoples to identify areas with high infection rates.

The app is provided for free on the Android system and uses data from the Brazilian Ministry of Health, people working in the indigenous health system, executives of indigenous organizations and the COIAB network.

"This gathering of information, as well as the alignment of our strategies and measures to fight against COVID-19, exposed the lack of notification to the authorities and the serious impact the new virus had on us," said Mario Nicacio Wapichana, deputy co-ordinator of COIAB.

With four million cases and 125,000 deaths among 212 million people, Brazil is the second most virus-hit country in the world after the United States.

Among the 900,000 indigenous people, there were 30,000 infections and 785 deaths, according to The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB.)

"Indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable to the new coronavirus. According to an analysis of the registered cases by August 28, the incidence rate is 249 percent above the national average and the mortality rate is 224 percent," said COIAB.

The network said low immunity, outsider invasion of indigenous land, introduction of foreign pathogens and a weak health system were "some of the motives for such alarming numbers."

Several high-profile indigenous leaders have died from COVID-19.

On the previous Friday, 90-year-old cult boss Raoni Metuktire, one of the best-known defenders of the Amazon rainforest, was released from hospital after a week of treatment against COVID-19.

The leader of the Kayapo, known for his colorful feather headgear and the large disk in his lower lip, has returned to his area in the Xingu National Park in west-central Brazil.

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© 2020 AFP

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