Mysterious oil spill contaminates beaches across swathe of Brazilian coast

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2019   •   572

Slick from a mysterious oil spill blighted Brazil’s beaches over the weekend, as clean-up efforts get underway.

Reports of the oil spill emerged late last month.

Brazil’s environmental agency Ibama has reported that an analysis of a vast oil spill along the country’s northeastern beaches showed that the spilled crude did not originate in the country.

Ibama said in a statement that it had been investigating the spill on several beaches in some northeastern states since Sept. 2.

The spill spans over 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) of Brazil’s northeast coast, affecting wildlife and polluting some of the postcard beaches in one of the nation’s top touristic destinations.

A wide-scale cleanup operation is underway along the coast. (Reuters)

(Production: Pablo Garcia)

Rio eases lockdown despite Brazil cases topping 530,000

UNTV News   •   June 3, 2020

Shops reopened and residents returned to the streets of Rio de Janeiro this week, after local authorities announced a gradual return to economic activity. But for many it is not a return to normality after Brazil’s confirmed coronavirus infections topped 530,000 cases.

On Monday (June 1), Rio’s Mayor Marcelo Crivella announced a gradual reopening of shops and businesses on Tuesday (June 2). But authorities have cautioned that social distancing should be practised.

Rio de Janeiro State Governor Wilson Witzel announced that the use of a face mask is obligatory in public spaces, and tourist sites such as Christ the Redeemer are to remain closed until June 21.

The lockdown has weighed heavily on Brazilians and their hip pockets. The economy was already in the throes of a recession when coronavirus hit and this year the government expects Latin America’s biggest economy to contract by 4.7% this year, which itself would be a record.

Brazil has registered over 530,000 coronavirus cases and more than 30,000 deaths. (Reuters)

(Production: Sebastian Rocandio, Paul Vieira)

Brazil faces grim coronavirus milestone

UNTV News   •   May 20, 2020

Fresh graves were being dug in a massive cemetery in Brazil’s largest city on Tuesday (May 19), a day after the country overtook Britain to become the country with the third-highest number of infections behind the United States and Russia.

Brazil recorded 674 new coronavirus deaths on Monday (May 18), the Health Ministry said, and announced a total of 254,220 confirmed cases. There are now 16,792 people in Brazil who have died from the outbreak, the ministry said.

According to data from the Health Ministry, São Paulo remains the worst hit by the outbreak, with 63,066 cases and 4,823 deaths. Rio de Janeiro is in second place, with 26,665 infections and 2,852 deaths.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has lost popularity over his handling of the pandemic, but he retains a resilient core of support. Last week, Health Minister Nelson Teich resigned, becoming the second top health official to leave the post since the pandemic began. (Reuters)

(Production: Sergio Queiroz, Leonardo Benassatto, Pablo Garcia, Leandra Camera)

Brazil overtakes Spain, Italy in COVID-19 confirmed cases

UNTV News   •   May 18, 2020

Brazil’s confirmed COVID-19 cases had exceeded 230,000 as of Saturday local time, surpassing the numbers in Spain and Italy and making the country’s outbreak the fourth largest in the world, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

According to the latest epidemiological data, the virus has infected 233,142 people and left 15,633 dead. The number of confirmed cases in Brazil has jumped to the fourth in the world, following the United States, Russia and the UK.

Brazil saw 14,919 new confirmed cases and 816 additional deaths on Saturday.

According to a statement issued by the Vice President office, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao and his wife undertook COVID-19 tests on Saturday after a household help who had close contact with them was tested positive. The couple are under quarantine at home now.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro strongly supported the resumption of business activities and ending large-scale isolation as soon as possible during an interview Saturday.

The president said the isolation measures taken by the governors and mayors of different states will bring more chaos, hunger and poverty, and a total of 380 million people without formal jobs have lost everything in the outbreak. He is worried that it will be difficult to recover the economy and social order.

However, as the epidemic is almost out of control in Brazil, most of the country’s states and municipalities decided to further strengthen the isolation measures to ensure the safety of people. (Reuters)

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