Coronavirus outbreak threatens Rio's beloved beach days
By Gabriel Stargardter RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Mondays are usually slow on Rio de Janeiro's iconic Ipanema beach, but Ana Nunes, who rents parasols and chairs there, said business was down 80% due to the coronavirus outbreak that has prompted authorities to warn against gathering in crowded areas.
Coronavirus outbreak threatens Rio's beloved beach days" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/03-2020/17/2020-03-16T204501Z_1_LYNXMPEG2F29U_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-BRAZIL-BEACHES.jpg" alt=" Coronavirus outbreak threatens Rios beloved beach days" width="300" height="225" />
By Gabriel Stargardter
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Mondays are usually slow on Rio de Janeiro's iconic Ipanema beach, but Ana Nunes, who rents parasols and chairs there, said business was down 80% due to the coronavirus outbreak that has prompted authorities to warn against gathering in crowded areas.
Nunes, who reluctantly said she was 52 but normally tells people she is "immortal," said she had no option but to work.
"This is my only source of income," she said. "Are we going to lose money? Sure. As long as there is no order against it, I will come to work. But I know I'm putting myself at risk."
The coronavirus outbreak, which has spread fear across the world, pummeling markets and pushing governments into extreme measures to contain the spread and prop up economies, is also threatening the beloved Rio beach day.
Rio state Governor Wilson Witzel said on Monday he would announce a state of emergency, without giving details on when, and what that would entail. He has urged people to avoid large public gatherings and said he could close beaches.
On Monday, firemen were patrolling some Rio beaches, blaring guidance on loudspeakers for beachgoers to go home.
That struck fear in the hearts of some Rio beach workers.
Many are informal workers from poor communities, dependant on good weather and tourists' whims. A few years ago, Nunes said she could make 2,500 reais ($500) on a sunny Saturday. These days, she is lucky to make 800 reais in a day, and the outbreak could force her to close shop.
Working nearby, Paloma Nascimento, who won her stall licence when she came out of prison in a program to reintegrate former inmates, said she pays Rio city hall 400 reais a year for the concession. She said she would follow any closure order, but it would devastate her business.
"I'm scared because I live off this," she said, adding that she employed three other people. "If I don't work, I don't eat."
Nunes said tempers were starting to flare amid a price war between beach stands. She was selling coconuts, which normally go for 8 reais, at 5 reais, while her neighbour was annoyed at having to rent a big parasol, usually priced at 30 reais, for 10 reais.
"Soon there will be fights," she said.
Her customer, 40-year-old hairdresser Tanny Nunes, was making the most of her day off, sunning herself during what she expected would be one of her final days in the sun for a while.
But she said she wasn't too concerned: "There'll be sun next year, right?"
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Editing by Bill Berkrot)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Rockets hit near U.S. forces and contractors in Iraq on Wednesday, including an air base north of Baghdad and a military base at Baghdad International Airport, the Iraqi army and security officials said. The army reported at least three rockets hit Balad air base, where U.S
By Silvia Ognibene and Silvia Aloisi FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) -Italian police have arrested a Chinese couple accused of running a leather goods business which exploited immigrant workers it employed to make handbags for a Burberry supplier, according to an arrest warrant seen by Reuters. Tax police in Florence said in a statement that the two Chinese nationals were arrested on Wednesday as part of an investigation into alleged labour exploitation and tax fraud and that restrictive measures had been imposed on two other family members, including a ban on them leaving Italy
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday blacklisted four Nicaraguans, including a daughter of President Daniel Ortega, as Washington warned it would continue to use diplomatic and economic tools against members of the leftist government engaged in repression. The U.S. State Department called on Ortega to release detained presidential candidates as well as other civil society and opposition leaders arrested over the past week in what Washington called "an increasing wave of repression." "There are costs for those who are complicit in the regime's repression.