Lizarda Guimaraes accompanied by her daughter, arrives for self-isolation amid the new coronavirus pandemic, in Brasilia, Brazil. AP
Brazil re-enlisted more than 150 Cuban doctors Monday to help fight a surge in coronavirus cases, a year and a half after Havana ended a medical assistance program over a row with President Jair Bolsonaro.
The doctors, who had opted to stay in Brazil after the Cuban government pulled the plug on the program that sent them, received new medical licenses from the Brazilian health ministry under a program to round up reinforcements for the overstretched health system.
"The following Cuban physicians are hereby granted licenses to practice medicine under the 'Mais Medicos' program," said an edict published in the official diary.
"Mais Medicos" — More Doctors — is the name of a program under which Cuba sent more than 8,000 doctors to work in under-served public clinics and hospitals in Brazil.
Launched in 2013 under Brazil's then left-wing government, the program became a top target for far-right leader Bolsonaro, who compared it to "slavery" during his 2018 presidential campaign.
Cuba's communist government, fiercely proud of its vaunted health system and medical diplomacy, angrily pulled its doctors out of Brazil in November 2018, shortly before Bolsonaro took office.
Hundreds chose to stay, however, in some cases because they had married and started families in Brazil.
But they lost their licenses to practice medicine, and have in many cases been stuck working odd jobs to survive.
Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which has rapidly spiralled in Brazil -- now the country with the third-highest number of infections in the world after the United States and Russia.
Brazil has registered 254,220 cases and 16,792 deaths from COVID-19, though experts say under-testing means the real figures could be 15 times higher or more.
Bolsonaro has compared the virus to a "little flu" and condemned the "hysteria" surrounding it.
But with many hospitals near breaking point, his government decided in March to bring in extra medical personnel as reinforcements, now extended to include the Cuban doctors.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has staunchly opposed lockdowns but many local authorities have defied him and, with the crisis deepening, a vast section of Bahia state was placed under curfew.
South Korea has seen a rapid rise in infections in recent days as authorities carry out checks on more than 260,000 people associated with the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a religious group often condemned as a cult that is linked to more than half the cases.
The outbreak has infected a host of senior officials, politicians, clerics and members of the elite Revolutionary Guards in Iran, the fourth worst-affected nation after China, South Korea and Italy.
In moves to prevent panic over the coronavirus in Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East, President Hassan Rouhani appealed to people not to spread rumours and the judiciary banned most officials from announcing numbers of those infected.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the governments and people of India and Bangladesh, as well as to the families of the victims, wishing a speedy recovery to the injured.
The authorities added that the medical teams provided the necessary first aid to the injured, and the concerned authorities began investigating the circumstances of the incident.
The victim stated in the investigations that the following day he discovered that his personal bag containing Dhs45,000 and his passport were missing together with another bag.
The NA on Thursday scrapped the voting right given to the overseas Pakistanis and the use of EVMs in the next elections. The PTI has strongly criticised the move and termed it a “regressive and condemnable act” of the government.