Coronavirus: Brazil care home makes ‘hug tunnel’ so residents can embrace loved ones

‘If anyone out there runs a senior living home or facility, I recommend you do this. It is so gratifying to see them hugging each other and so important’

Samuel Lovett
Friday 19 June 2020 20:14 BST
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A daughter hugs his mother at the Geriatric Clinic Tres Figueiras
A daughter hugs his mother at the Geriatric Clinic Tres Figueiras (Getty Images)

A care home in south Brazil has created a ‘hug tunnel’ to allow residents to embrace their loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff at the Geriatric Clinic Tres Figueiras facility in the state of Rio Grande do Sul came up with the idea last month, shortly after Mother’s Day.

“We noticed that our senior residents were feeling sad,” owner Luciana Brito told CNN. “We thought they would be much happier if we found a way for them to hug their relatives.”

Ms Brito said that the facility, which is home to 28 senior residents who have been in isolation since March 17, took inspiration from a video in the US, where a woman used a plastic curtain to her mother.

Eraldo Quintana, an 81-year-old retiree living at the home, said it was “difficult to hug someone” when there is plastic in the way, but it had allowed him to embrace his two daughters when they visited.

“I was very happy to see them,” Mr Quintana told CNN. “If we didn’t have this we would be scared to embrace due to the coronavirus.”

The tunnel is made of a large plastic sheet with four arm holes and covers one of the facility’s entrances.

All visitors have their temperatures checked and apply hand sanitiser before using the tunnel, while the area is disinfected every 30 minutes. Visits are also scheduled ahead of time to avoid crowding.

“If anyone out there runs a senior living home or facility, I recommend you do this,” Rubia Santos, the facility’s administrator, said in a video posted on the home’s Facebook page. “It is so gratifying to see them hugging each other and so important.”

To date, Brazil has reported 47,748 deaths and close to one million cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

On Friday, Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) emergencies programme, said the country had recorded an additional 1,230 Covid-19 deaths over the past 24 hours.

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