This pregnant woman who refused to fly from her home island to mainland Brazil to give birth for fear of catching coronavirus said she was forced onto a plane by police and flown to a COVID-19 hotspot.
Businesswoman Alyne Dias de Luna, 30, was taken to the airport on the idyllic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha off the coast of the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco by the police in her 34th week of pregnancy after refusing to travel off the archipelago.
The authorities said that medical protocol on the archipelago is for expectant mothers to be transferred to the mainland after their 28th week of pregnancy, as the hospital on the main island does not have a maternity unit.
However, Luna argues that she was much safer in Fernando de Noronha, where only 28 people have suffered COVID-19 and all of them have now recovered, than travelling to the city of Recife where at least 7,200 cases have been registered, the most in the state of Pernambuco.
She told local media: “They treated me as if I was a criminal, a fugitive. The police came to my house three times. After that, a team stayed on standby at my front door. I feel constrained, coerced and scared at the situation. Being pregnant and a mother is now a threat on the island.
“We are persecuted because there isn’t a basic structure for childbirth and we can’t have our children in peace, with the tranquillity of knowing we are close to home, of being with our families.”
The mother says she did not even have a chance to pack her bags or shower at home before her trip to the mainland as she was detained when she went to present a statement to the police and taken straight to the airport, where a plane rented by the state flew her to Recife.
She said she asked for a police officer to go home with her to pack her bags but claims they had refused her request.
When asked about the situation, the Civil Police of Pernambuco said: “The pregnant woman failed to comply with a court order in which she was ordered to come to Recife on a flight that left the island on Saturday (9th May). The pregnant woman attended the Fernando de Noronha Police Station, where she was heard and she will answer for the crime of disobedience.”
The expectant mother, who is awaiting the birth of her daughter Helena in Recife, said: “I’m a low-risk pregnancy. I prefer the one-percent chance of having a caesarian than having a 99-percent chance of contaminating myself on the mainland.”
According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Brazil has suffered 190,137 cases of COVID-19 with 13,240 deaths, the most in Latin America.
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