On July 29th, Brazil’s Health Ministry confirmed 69,074 new cases and 1,595 deaths, both new single-day records. The country has been severely hit by the pandemic with more than 2.5 million confirmed cases, and over 90,000 fatalities, only behind the US which has seen more than 4.4 million contagion cases and over 150,000 deaths, as reported by Johns Hopkins University.
Four of the 10 most affected countries are in Latin America: Brazil has more than 2 million confirmed cases, Peru and Mexico both have around 350,000, and Chile with 330,000.
The spike in Covid-19 cases seen in Brazil comes in stark contrast with the country’s decision to welcome foreign visitors who arrive by plane. The decision was presented as a “difficult” move to to revive Brazil’s tourism industry, which has been impacted by the travel restrictions and lockdown.
According to estimates by the National Confederation of Trade in Goods, Services and Tourism (CNC), the tourism and hospitality industry in Brazil has lost more than $20.6 billion. A ban on tourists arriving by sea or land will remain in place for another thirty days.
At least 140 million people in Latin America work in the informal sector and do not have the means to save money and stay home during a lockdown. It is estimated that an additional 15 million have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Residents in Brazil’s favela communities have organized themselves to respond to the pandemic as many have felt neglected by the federal local authorities. People living in the favelas felt “encouraged” to follow social distancing guidelines because local gangs imposed those measures, as well lockdowns and curfews.
Some experts believe, however, that curfews without testing and tracing are not effective, and that spikes like the ones seen in Brazil will continue to be the norm.