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Fri Mar 27, 2020, 10:27 AM

Coronavirus in South America: How it became a class issue

By Katy Watson
Sao Paulo, Brazil
24 March 2020

There are now cases being reported in Rio's favelas

Brazil got its first case of coronavirus just after carnival. The man, who had visited Italy, returned with symptoms and went straight to Albert Einstein hospital, a world-class institution in the southern hemisphere's biggest city, São Paulo.

In the beginning, many of the cases followed a similar pattern, affecting Brazilians who can afford to travel abroad and pay for treatment in private hospitals.

And it is a pattern that is replicated across the region too. The first case in Ecuador was somebody returning from Spain. In Uruguay, media reported last week that half of the country's coronavirus cases could be traced back to a single guest at a glamorous party who had just come back from Spain.

This has not escaped the notice of poorer Brazilians either, many of whom share the view that the virus is coming over from wealthier people who have been on holiday abroad.


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