MSF teams in Brazil are working to reach remote indigenous communities before the coronavirus pandemic takes hold

A mobile medical team preparing to travel to reach patients in the Lake Mirini region of the Amazon © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

A mobile medical team preparing to travel to reach patients in the Lake Mirini region of the Amazon © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

From the metropolis of São Paulo to the vast Amazon rainforest, COVID-19 has swept through Brazil.

The country is now one of the worst affected in the world – second only to the United States – with more than 2.7 million infections and sadly more than 94,600 deaths as of early August.

Back in April, with COVID-19 already hitting hard in urban areas, MSF launched an emergency response to reach remote communities living in the State of Amazonas – an enormous region in the country’s northwest covered almost entirely in the dense jungle of the Amazon Basin.

Here, limited transport and access to healthcare would mean that tracking the pandemic and treating patients would create an outbreak response unlike any other.

Scroll down to see photos from frontlines across the State of Amazonas...

Local people arrive at the "boat clinic", an MSF craft that delivers basic medical services to communities living along the river in the Tefé area © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

A blood test is carried out at the boat clinic. The mobile team undertake a two-week return voyage, stopping off at riverside communities © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

A medical team travels by smaller boats to a community living on the shores of Lake Mirini, ready to do health checks and deliver routine vaccinations © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

Warao indigenous people have their blood pressure checked in an isolation centre run by MSF in Manaus. Most Warao indigenous people in the Amazonas state capital live in shelters, where social distance is almost impossible © Euzivaldo Queiroz/MSF

An MSF nurse takes the temperature of Warao people at an isolation centre in the city of Manaus. The centre was set up to help people with COVID-19 symptoms isolate themselves from other people in their shelter © MSF

A medical team going house-to-house at Lake Mirini, carrying out routine health checks and delivering advice as part of the pandemic response © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

Child has blood collected for examination during consultation at the basic health unit (UBS) fluvial. © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

Doctor Abrantes talks with a several indigenous communities via radio, answering questions about COIVD-19 and how the MSF care centre can help © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

In the northwest Amazonian town of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Doctor Fernanda Abrantes talks to a patient's family at a care centre for mild and moderate COVID-19 patients © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

A patient admitted with symptoms of COVID-19 is also tested for tuberculosis at the MSF centre set up in São Gabriel da Cachoeira © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

A healthcare worker talking with a family at Lake Mirini about how to protect themselves © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

The team wave goodbye to Antonio Castro as he is thankfully discharged from the centre after observation and treatment © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

Nurse Nara Duarte teaches a child at Lake Mirini the correct way to wash their hands during a boat clinic visit. She says: “We knew we were getting closer to very vulnerable communities, so it was vitally important to prevent patients and staff from becoming contaminated." © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

The MSF team helps 99-year-old patient Antonio Castro at the São Gabriel da Cachoeira centre. He was under observation with COVID-19 symptoms and breathing difficulties © DiegoBaravelli / MSF

Vilmar Silva Matos, leader of the Yanomami indigenous people, at the accommodation where his people sleep when they visit the MSF centre in São Gabriel da Cachoeira. He talked about the fear of the disease getting closer and affecting the elderly: "We were afraid of losing our leaders, who are like our dictionaries, our storytellers." © DiegoBaravelli / MSF