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Brazil's Indigenous Chief and Amazon Defender Raoni Hospitalised with Covid-19

The 90-year-old chief Raoni Metuktire of the Kayapo tribe is 'stable' after being diagnosed with Covid-19

The 90-year-old chief Raoni Metuktire of the Kayapo tribe is 'stable' after being diagnosed with Covid-19

The latest health scare for the 90-year-old chief came just over a month after he was released from the hospital for gastric ulcers and a series of other issues.

One of the most famous defenders of the Amazon rainforest, indigenous chief Raoni Metuktire, has been hospitalized with Covid-19 but is "well and stable," the institute he founded said Monday.

One of the most famous defenders of the Amazon rainforest, indigenous chief Raoni Metuktire, has been hospitalized with Covid-19 but is "well and stable," the institute he founded said Monday.

The latest health scare for the 90-year-old chief came just over a month after he was released from the hospital for gastric ulcers and a series of other issues.

Known for his colorful feather headdresses and the large disc inserted in his lower lip, Raoni, a chief of the Kayapo people in north-central Brazil, has traveled the world raising awareness of the threat posed by destruction of the world's biggest rainforest.

Raoni was admitted Friday to the Dois Pinheiros hospital in the city of Sinop, a hospital source told AFP.

"Chief Raoni's family only authorized us to inform about his health after the medical staff confirmed Raoni is well and not at risk. He should be discharged soon," said the Raoni Institute, created in 2001 to defend the Amazon.

"Nevertheless, his advanced age (requires) care and he will be monitored by his medical team until he is completely recovered," it said in a statement.

Raoni's health began to decline after he lost his wife of more than 60 years, Bekwyjka, who died in June after a stroke.

The chief had signs of pneumonia, but is now free of fever and breathing normally, without supplemental oxygen, the institute said.

Raoni has clashed with President Jair Bolsonaro, who has accused him of taking money from foreign interests to criticize Brazil's environmental policies.

The far-right president has faced condemnation from environmentalists and the international community for presiding over a surge in deforestation and calling for protected Amazon lands to be opened to mining and agriculture.

Raoni for his part told AFP in a June interview that Bolsonaro was using the coronavirus pandemic to eradicate his people.

Covid-19 has hit especially hard among indigenous groups in the Amazon, who have a history of vulnerability to outside diseases.

In Brazil, 28,815 indigenous people have been infected by the new coronavirus, and 757 have died, according to the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples' Association (APIB).

Another prominent indigenous chief in Brazil, Aritana Yawalapiti, died of complications of Covid-19 earlier this month aged 71.