SAO PAULO AFP June14, 2020-A retirement home in Brazil has come up with a creative solution to allow friends and families to enjoy personal contact with aging residents particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus: a “hugging curtain.” The large plastic curtain, installed in a retirement home in the city of Sao Paulo, allows residents on one side and visitors on the other to engage in the sort of comforting hugs that COVID-19 has made impossible for months.
The curtain has pockets through which resident and visitor can insert their arms, and they are outfitted with shoulder-length black gloves for added protection.
“It really feels good; I missed her so much!” 68-year-old Silvio Nagata told AFP after enjoying a long, emotional hug with his sister, Luiza Yassuko, who is 76, at a retirement home in the affluent Morumbi neighborhood.
“Because of the pandemic, I wasn’t able to visit her, especially because at my age I’m also part of a high-risk group,” Nagata said. Sao Paulo state is Brazil’s richest and most populous state, with 46 million inhabitants, but it is also the hardest-hit by the coronavirus. There have been 172,875 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10,581 deaths, according to the latest official tally.
Brazil has registered the second-largest number of coronavirus deaths in the world, at 43,389, and of people infected (850,514), after the United States.