Indigenous communities of Peru and an international NGO they asked this Wednesday ban outsiders from entering the Amazon to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus among the natives, who are among “The most vulnerable on the planet” in the face of the pandemic.
The organization of Indigenous Peoples of the East (Orpio), which brings together Peruvian Amazon communities, asked “to close the entry of foreigners with the exception of health personnel and authorities”, and warned that more than 60% of the Peruvian jungle villages lack health centers Or they “do not have equipment or medicine.”
In the Loreto region, where the Amazon River rises in northeast Peru, 24 cases of coronavirus have been detected. Among those affected is Catholic Bishop José Javier Travieso, 72, the Episcopal Conference said.
“The distance from a community to a nearest medical post may take at least 6 to 8 hours and even up to 3 days or more” in a remote region where river navigation is the main form of transportation, Orpio said in a statement. .
For his part, the NGO Amazon Watch warned that the covid-19 «can have a devastating effect on indigenous peoples, particularly in those who live in voluntary isolation «in the Amazon.
The organization, based in San Francisco (USA), asked to establish “a moratorium on any activity that involves the entry of outsiders to indigenous territories, such as mining, forestry, oil extraction and exploration, industrial agriculture and evangelical missions.”
“As humanity faces a global pandemic, indigenous peoples of the Amazon are among the most vulnerable on the planet to the virus“Said the NGO’s executive director, Leila Salazar-López, in a statement sent to the AFP in Lima.
Brazil and eight other countries share the Amazon, including Peru, where the jungle covers almost two thirds of its territory.
Among those infected with coronavirus in Peru is an Amazonian indigenous leader who tested positive after returning from a trip to the Netherlands.
In Peru, there is a mandatory social isolation that restricts the freedom of people to go outside, as well as a night curfew.
As of Tuesday, they had registered 416 cases of coronavirus in the country, with seven deaths.
In the neighbor Brazil, the first case of covid-19 was confirmed on Friday in Manaus, on the banks of the Amazon.