Philip Reeves

Environmentalists in Brazil are mourning the death of a leading expert on uncontacted tribes in the Amazon, who was killed by an arrow that struck him in the chest.

Friends of Rieli Franciscato say he died inside the rainforest while on a mission to shield an isolated indigenous group from a possible hostile encounter with outsiders.

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

Peru's government has launched a campaign of emotional shock tactics to persuade its citizens to help stop the coronavirus from causing more death and misery in a country with one of Latin America's biggest outbreaks.

Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra acknowledges the campaign "may seem too harsh." Yet he says: "We are in a war. ... You have to call things as they are."

Anti-government blockades in Bolivia have entered their second week amid escalating political tensions, violent confrontations and government allegations that protesters are causing deaths by stopping supplies from reaching coronavirus patients.

The protests are deepening the crisis facing a nation already struggling to cope with a pandemic which officials say has so far killed more than 3,700 people and infected more than 91,600.

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It's hard to delay presidential elections in the United States - yet in some countries, you can. In Bolivia, the authorities have repeatedly postponed elections, citing the coronavirus pandemic. NPR's Philip Reeves says that's triggered protests across the country.

Front-line health workers and senior clerics in Brazil are adding their voices to the chorus of alarm about President Jair Bolsonaro's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With more than 87,000 deaths and 2.4 million registered infections so far, Brazil has suffered more cases than any other country except the United States.

The number of people infected by the coronavirus in some of Brazil's poorest and most vulnerable neighborhoods could be 30 times higher than the officially registered count, according to Brazilian researchers.

Since the pandemic began, there has been intense concern about the virus's impact on these communities, including favelas where the population is predominantly poor and black.

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Brazil reported a record spike of daily coronavirus infections Thursday, as widespread criticism continues to dog President Jair Bolsonaro for playing down the outbreak. The country has confirmed more than 438,000 cases, the world's second-highest number after the United States.

The rise in cases comes as São Paulo, the state with the highest number of registered deaths, prepares to ease restrictions in some areas.

Argentina is loosening the strict lockdown that helped secure one of the lowest death tolls from COVID-19 in South America.

Restrictions imposed more than seven weeks ago will remain in effect in and around the capital, Buenos Aires. The nation's borders and schools will stay closed, and public gatherings will still be banned. But Monday, the administration of President Alberto Fernández began allowing provincial mayors and governors to open up businesses and restore free movement if coronavirus case numbers remain low.

"I just wish a helicopter would come and fly me away from here," says Manuel Viana, a Brazilian funeral director in the front line of the spiraling coronavirus crisis. "We are living through a nightmare."

Viana is among the citizens and officials struggling to cope with a tragedy under way in Manaus, a city of 2.2 million in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.

Cemeteries and hospitals have been overwhelmed by a surge in the number of deaths, most of which are not registered in official COVID-19 statistics because of a lack of testing and bureaucratic delays.

Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is the focus of a fresh outcry after taking part in a public protest against democratic institutions that included calls for a military takeover.

The president's participation in the event has caused outrage among judges, human rights groups, lawyers and others, and comes amid growing controversy over his response to the coronavirus crisis.

Brandishing placards and flags, hundreds of people drove by motorcade to Sunday's rally, which was held outside army headquarters in the capital Brasilia.

Medical professionals treating coronavirus patients in Venezuela say most hospitals lack a broad array of basic necessities, often including soap and running water.

Their warning comes amid concerns that the South American country could soon face a new humanitarian catastrophe because its health system is close to collapse and cannot cope with a surge of cases.

Right-wing groups in Brazil are summoning their supporters onto the streets to demand that their country returns to work, and ends mass lockdowns imposed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

This follows a highly controversial campaign against shutdowns by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who believes mass closures will cause more economic devastation and suffering than the virus itself.

There's been a furious reaction in Brazil after President Jair Bolsonaro demanded an end to lockdowns imposed in his country's biggest cities in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Having played down the virus for days as "exaggerated," the president doubled down Wednesday, labeling governors and mayors who have imposed restrictions as "criminals" who are "destroying Brazil."

Pressure is growing on Chile's government to take far stronger measures to tackle the coronavirus, after officials announced on Tuesday the number of cases has risen to 922 — an increase of more than 170 in just one day.

President Sebastian Piñera last week announced a "state of catastrophe," allowing him to deploy the military to safeguard Chile's critical infrastructure and supply lines. Borders are closed to nonresident foreigners, and a nighttime curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. began on Sunday.

The coronavirus is spreading with increasing speed across South America's largest nation, Brazil, prompting a senior government minister to warn that the health care system faces collapse.

The number of confirmed cases has surged by 283 in one day to 904, according to a bulletin released by the Health Ministry on Friday. The number of deaths has reached 11, it says.

This surge comes amid more warnings about the country's inadequate health system, including a huge shortage of intensive care beds and other equipment — a dilemma shared across the region.

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Turmoil In Bolivia

Nov 14, 2019

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The protests that have taken over Chile's capital city show no sign of stopping.

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Amid the chaos and misery that have engulfed Venezuela lies a strange parcel of tranquility, tucked within a valley surrounded by poplar trees and mountains some 20 miles south of the Caribbean coast.

It is a field populated by dozens of lanky teenage boys who are spending this particular evening — as they often do — galloping around the grass in pursuit of an oval ball.

These impoverished Venezuelans are training in the skills of a sport not often seen in a South American nation that's mad about soccer, baseball and horse racing: They are playing rugby.

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So what can be done to stop these wildfires ravaging the Amazon? That is a question that's being asked by everyone from world leaders to protesters on the streets of Rio de Janeiro.

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Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has responded to growing international condemnation over the fires sweeping through vast swaths of the Amazon rainforest by announcing that the army may be sent in to tackle them.

He said Friday that protecting the rainforest is "our duty" and he is acting to combat "criminal activities."

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