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Brazil coronavirus: Rio reopens because experts warn that the worst is yet to come



Brazil coronavirus: Rio reopens because experts warn that the worst is yet to come

“My crew and I are eager to get back to work,” he told CNN about his place called Cabanna, which serves snacks, sandwiches and cocktails. “It will be different, with all the precautions we have to take, the distance of the table, the number of people sitting together, but it feels good to be working again.”

Assy said he barely avoided bankruptcy, lay off four of his 11 employees and freeze or reduce the salaries of the remaining seven when Rio de Janeiro ordered all important businesses closed in March, in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“Another month like this, and I have to close completely,” he said. “Today I am more afraid of staying at home and not working than the corona virus.”

Like many cities in Brazil, under pressure from rising unemployment and rising economies, Rio de Janeiro eased restrictions – despite warnings from experts that the city has so far failed to control Covid-19.

Starting Thursday, restaurants, bars and gymnasiums are allowed to reopen, following new health guidelines that require the use of masks and social distance. On the first day, there were several customers in the seaside pedestrian area, although it was unclear whether it was caused by the weather or the fear of the corona virus, which experts said might not reach its peak in Brazil until mid-August.

At the end of May, researchers at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) counts the pandemic in Rio will peak the following month, and recommends maintaining social isolation measures.

But on June 2, Mayor Rio Marcelo Crivella announced plans to gradually relax restrictions, starting with the reopening of car dealers and home decor shops. Then came the trade, shopping centers and several public spaces.

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A month later, the number of deaths from Covid-19 had risen 70% to 6,550 and the total number of infections in the city rose by almost 50% to 57,879, according to Rio’s state health secretary. And while the number of deaths recorded in the second half of the month was slightly lower, 1,303 vs. 1,372, the number of new cases was 16% higher at 13,675.

Overall, Brazil has the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, second only to the US. As of Thursday, there were more than 60,000 deaths and 1.4 million confirmed case from viruses.

Other cities have regrets

But plans to reopen remain unchanged. Experts warn Rio can follow in the footsteps of other Brazilian cities that are moving too fast to reopen and eventually have to close again.

One of the first Brazilian state capitals to apply quarantine, Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais, began to reopen its economy at the end of May. But this week it ordered non-essential activities to be closed again, due to a surge in deaths and hospitalizations.

The fact that the virus spreads as a limitation is reduced in Rio is not a coincidence, according to Roberto Medronho, an epidemiologist at UFRJ and one of the creators of “covidimeter,” a tool that calculates transmission rates. As of June 7, the capital city has a transmission rate of 1.03. Three weeks later, the transmission rate was at 1.46.

“This shows that the decision to expand reopening is based on economic and non-scientific criteria,” Medronho told CNN.

Covid-19 has hit the Brazilian economy hard even when President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly underestimated the effects of the virus by insisting that hunger and unemployment can kill more people than a pandemic. While most Brazilians initially supported the closure of unnecessary business, Bolsonaro’s message echoed even more.
About 7.8 million Brazilians lost their jobs between March and May, according to figures released this week by the Brazilian statistics agency IBGE. The agency said that for the first time since it began tracking data, less than half the working age population actually worked. The exact figure is 49.5%.

Economists expect a historic recession because of Covid-19. The Brazilian Central Bank estimates a decline in GDP of 6.4% for this year, while the International Monetary Fund is more pessimistic and sees the economy shrinking 9.1% by 2020.

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Crivella from Rio said his decision was taken after discussions with his scientific committee, which determined that the gym, bar and restaurant could be reopened because the number of deaths had slowed and the percentage of ICU beds occupied had also declined.

In early June, 90% of ICU beds in Rio were occupied. This week, the figure has dropped to 69%. Even so, experts say it should not be the only statistic used to make decisions.

“The governor and mayor opened a field hospital and bought a ventilator, and the numbers are increasing,” said Domingos Alves, a computer modeling expert from Covid-19 Brazilian group, which brings together scientists from several Brazilian universities.

“But this has its limits: doctors are not available like beds, and there is no way to increase this capacity indefinitely. Relying only on ICU bed work as a basis for reopening is a trick used to calm the population.”

Alves said the plan next week to open a football match in the city to the public would only worsen an already complicated situation.

The city of Belo Horizonte also based its decision to reopen in late May about the ICU occupation, a decision now regretted by Mayor Alexandre Kalil.

“What we are doing as a country is to buy more beds. It is a mistake to think that this will solve it. Now we have to close again in Belo Horizonte because cases are skyrocketing. I see this drama as war, and in a war, you change your strategy all the time, “Kalil said in an interview.

By the end of May, the number of hospital beds in Belo Horizonte had quadrupled since the start of the pandemic and Kalil allowed retail stores and beauty salons to open.

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Unlike Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte does not allow shopping centers, churches and parks to reopen, but even so, in one month cases jumped from 1,852 to 4,942, and the death rate increased from 49 to 106. Earlier this week, 92 % of intensive care beds occupied.

Kalil reintroduced the act of social isolation on June 26. He said they would be retained for at least two more weeks.

“You cannot say that everything was fine when the media reported the death toll in the country had exceeded 60,000. In Belo Horizonte we are not flat earth inhabitants. Closing or opening will depend on science and numbers,” he said.

Scientists in the Brazilian Covid-19 group predicted that cities that relax social action could see a 150% increase in the number of Covid-19 registered cases in the next two weeks.

“The governor and mayor sent the population to slaughterhouses with the privilege of economic recovery,” Domingos Alves said.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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