A 15-year-old teen from the Yanomami indigenous tribe died Thursday from coronavirus-related causes in northern Brazil, according to a statement from the country’s health ministry.
The teen had been hospitalized since last Friday in the state of Roraima’s General Hospital in capital Boa Vista, according to the statement.
The Association of the Indigenous People of Brazil (APIB), a watchdog group that defends indigenous rights, told CNN at least two other indigenous people have died from coronavirus complications. However, this is the first indigenous death confirmed by the Brazilian Health Ministry.
The teen was from the Rehebe village, an area that indigenous activist groups say has been affected by illegal mining.
"Today, without a doubt, the main vector for the spread of COVID-19 inside the Yanomami Indigenous Territory is the more than 20.000 illegal miners that go in and out of the territory without any control,” the Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA) NGO said in a statement. “The Yanomami, as many other indigenous people, are among the groups most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 and should be urgently protected, under the risk of genocide with the complicity of the Brazilian State."
Brazil’s Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said during a press conference this week the spread among indigenous groups is “worrisome” and said a national crisis committee has been created to monitor cases in indigenous territories.