Brazil descendents of escaped slaves tested for coronavirus

REGISTRO, Brazil (Reuters) – Escaped slaves in Brazil who wanted to live free often founded communities called Quilombos where their former owners could not find them.

Daiane do Nascimento is diagnosed with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by the Butantane Institute in Quilombo Peropava, an afro-offspring community founded for the first time by escaped slaves, on July 29, 2020 in Registro, Sao Paulo, Brazil. tested. REUTERS / Amanda Perobelli

But the corona virus found its way to Peropava in the state of Sao Paulo, which has survived since slavery was abolished in 1888.

On Wednesday, 120 masked Peropava residents lined up to conduct mass tests for the novel coronavirus after several members of the community became infected with the disease.

"We didn't think it was going to get here, a place that's pretty isolated. But unfortunately it did arrive," said Valdir Cabral, a resident recovering from COVID-19.

Cabral is still spending his time in bed in his concrete house in the forest. Chickens peck for food right outside the door.

Healthcare workers at the biomedical center The Butantane Institute performed the tests by pricking fingers and dripping blood into the openings of the plastic rapid test kits.

The institute did not disclose how many people tested positive for the virus, but said the results would help prevent the virus from spreading.

Registro, the community of approximately 56,000 residents in which Peropava is located, has registered 824 COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths from the disease, according to the local health ministry.

Brazil is the most affected country in the pandemic after the United States. On Wednesday, Brazil set daily records for new COVID-19 cases and related deaths: 69,074 sick and 1,595 dead within a single 24-hour period.

The Butantane Institute focuses on helping the most vulnerable, including indigenous people in Brazil, who often have limited access to medical care.

"It is necessary to step up our activities in the poorest regions, the outskirts of the cities and the smaller communities so that they understand what is going on and that they follow preventive measures," said Butantan Director Dimas Covas.

Reporting by Pablo Garcia; Additional reporting by Gabriel Araujo in Sao Paulo; Writing by Jake Spring; Edited by Richard Chang

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