coronavirus in Colombia

Coronavirus Reaches Indigenous Amazon Communities Through Brazil 

The coronavirus pandemic affected millions of people around the world while hitting some countries harder than others. Brazil is one of the countries with the highest number of coronavirus cases worldwide. The death toll reached 40,000 in Brazil which is the third-highest number in the world and the second-highest number of coronavirus cases.

The countries which share a border with Brazil are also at risk of a major coronavirus outbreak. Recently, a frontier town in Colombia saw a surge in the number of Covid-19 infections. Leticia is located in southern California. It is an Amazon river port and shares a border with Brazil. Leticia is populated with 50,000 individuals who obtain their livelihood from neighboring countries.

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The governor of Leticia, Jesús Galdino said that Colombia could not cut transport from Brazil because of their economic needs. Brazil became a coronavirus hotspot and there was a high risk of spread of coronavirus in Colombia. He also said that the coronavirus outbreak in Brazil heavily impacted Leticia. The number of coronavirus cases surged as they could not block the Brazilian border.

The number of coronavirus cases in Leticia reached more than 2,000 with 70 fatalities in the small town. This death toll does not seem very high. But it is recorded as the highest death rate due to coronavirus in Colombia as the town is sparsely populated. The health ministry of Columbia reported these figures in Leticia and surrounding states.

The first person to get Covid-19 infected in Leticia was an actor, Antonio Bolívar. He is also a member of an Indigenous Ocaina tribe. He previously starred in an Oscar-nominated film, Embrace of the Serpent in 2015 which made him a local celebrity.

His son, Cristian Bolívar said that his father showed symptoms of coronavirus in April. He suffered from high fever and difficulty breathing. His family tried to cure him using natural treatments. But his condition became worse in the following days and he admitted to a hospital to get treated.

The Amazonian natives are specifically at a high risk of contracting the coronavirus. Most of the people lack access to news and do not have internet connections. Therefore, they are usually unaware of the prevalent disease.

Germán Palacio is a law professor at a university in Leticia. He said that the traditions of these native communities also cause the spread of coronavirus. People usually eat and drink with each other and share their meals.

The town is also home to many corrupt politicians due to which a quality hospital facility is not available in this town. The healthcare system in this small town did not get any better during the last three decades.

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The only public hospital facility in Leticia is 60-year-old with a crumbling building. The hospital also lacks basic equipment and the doctors resigned as they did not receive paychecks for months.

Antonio Bolívar came to this hospital to get treated but the hospital lacked an oxygen measuring device. He was then taken to a private clinic but it was at its full capacity. He went back to the public hospital but it did not have adequate facilities.

Antonia, 75, died after four days due to the coronavirus infection.

The situation of coronavirus in Colombia is only getting worse and the lack of facilities in these indigenous towns is a matter of great concern.