Of the more than 5,000 Brazilian municipalities, only six have not registered cases of Covid to date.
Small Laranjal, with just over 6,000 inhabitants, is Covid’s only free city in Paraná. To avoid contagion, sanitary measures were reinforced, including for the 300 residents who travel 100 kilometers every day, to work in another city.
In southern Brazil, in addition to Laranjal, Cerro Branco, in Rio Grande do Sul, also did not register the disease. Most of the 4,000 residents of the city of Rio Grande do Sul live in the countryside. Health workers, sound cars and a radio give guidance on Covid.
Minas Gerais has the largest number of cities without Covid: Botumirim, in the north of the state; Cedro do Abaeté, in the central region; Pedro Teixeira, in the Zona da Mata; and the historic and touristic São Thomé das Letras, located in the south of Minas.
The city is famous for its natural beauty and for being part of a mystical itinerary. São Thomé das Letras used to receive visitors from all over Brazil, but tourists were banned from entering the city in March, to protect residents from the coronavirus.
At the entrance, the sanitary barrier works 24 hours. Mechanical engineer Heitor Collet was taking a tour of the south of Minas.
Sanitary agent: Visitor must schedule two days in advance.
Heitor: I would like to visit the city, but it won’t be today, I’ll have to go back another day.
A city official escorted Hector until he hit the road to another city.
“The city can only receive 20% of the capacity of beds available in the municipality of the accommodations. We don’t have a hospital here in the city, just a UBS, which is a basic care unit. We don’t have an ICU bed, respirator, we don’t. We only have one respirator to transport the patient ”, explains the coordinator of the Health Surveillance of São Thomé das Letras, Natália Ribeiro dos Santos.
Infectologist Unaí Tupinambás, professor at UFMG, explains that cities without Covid have characteristics in common that helped prevent the arrival of the coronavirus.
“These cities, their population, all have less than 10,000 inhabitants. They are places that have a low population density. Of course, that alone would not be enough. The options of local managers make all the difference. Social distancing, wearing a mask, avoiding crowding, all these issues, we have seen that there is a great success in this confrontation ”, he says.
Those who live in São Thomé das Letras still feel safe living in one of the few Brazilian cities free from Covid.
“Health here is perfect,” says one resident.