Brazilian newspaper Extra says gangsters and militias in Cidade de Deus, Brazil, have deployed vehicles with massive loudspeakers blaring prerecorded messages to inform residents in the slums that they must shelter in place amid the COVID-19 outbreak, reported Reuters.
“We’re imposing a curfew because nobody is taking this seriously,” the message said, according to Extra.
“Whoever is in the street screwing around or going for a walk will receive a corrective and serve as an example. Better to stay home doing nothing. The message has been given.”
Cidade de Deus is a West Zone neighborhood of the Rio de Janeiro city, known for lawless favelas.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized for his slow response to the outbreak, as more than 2,274 confirmed cases and 47 deaths had been reported in the South American country.
There was speculation earlier this month that Bolsonaro tested positive for the virus, though, later reports revealed that was false.
JUST IN: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has tested negative for coronavirus, according to a post on his Facebook page pic.twitter.com/xOP7zo61S9
— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) March 13, 2020
Reuters notes, while Extra is a “well-sourced Rio newspaper,” they could not verify the recorded message that was played to residents.
Criminal gangs and militias often act as de facto authorities in favelas, one where the government has very little oversight. Favela residents have called COVID-19: “the disease of