Prostitutes in Belo Horizonte, a city in south-eastern Brazil, have started a symbolic strike, with demonstrations demanding to be included in the groups to be vaccinated as a priority against Covid-19.
“We are on the front line, we run the economy and we take risks. We have to get vaccinated, ”Cida Vieira, president of the Association of Prostitutes of Minas Gerais (Aspromig), told AFP earlier this week.
According to her, more than 2,000 prostitutes have joined the movement, in this state of which Belo Horizonte is the capital.
Their working conditions have deteriorated sharply because of the closure of the hotels where they used to receive their customers, they explain.
“We should be part of the priority groups (for vaccination) because we are in contact with all types of people, risking our lives,” adds Lucimara Costa, who demonstrated Monday alongside Cida Vieira in one of the streets from downtown Belo Horizonte, where businesses considered non-essential have been closed by order of the town hall.
Teachers and police have recently been included in priority groups for immunizations by some Brazilian states, along with health workers, the elderly and indigenous people.
Like all of Brazil, the state of Minas Gerais has been affected by the second wave of contamination from the coronavirus, even if the death rate is one of the lowest in the country, 121 per 100,000, against 158 for the national average.
In Brazil, a country of 212 million people, nearly 337,000 lives have been killed by the virus.
A total of 25,713 people have died from Covid-19 in this southeastern state of the country, the second in terms of population, after Sao Paulo.