A provincial court ruled that the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Inclusion must better communicate and coordinate with Waorani leaders to get more COVID-19 tests, food and other necessities to communities.It also ordered the Ministry of Environment and Water to send a report detailing how it is monitoring illegal mining, logging and drug trafficking activities in the region, and to provide information on COVID-19 protocols for oil companies operating there.The lawyer for the Waorani called these industries “vectors of contagion” in the Amazon, as they never stopped during quarantine. QUITO — As COVID-19 sweeps across communities in the Amazon rainforest, the Indigenous Waorani in Ecuador are celebrating a bittersweet victory after a provincial court ruled in their favor in a recent lawsuit against the government. The decision on June 18 forces several government ministries to take urgent action to contain COVID-19 in Waorani territory, and protect the uncontacted Indigenous nations of Tagaeri and Taromenane, whose territory borders Waorani land. The court decision comes as COVID-19 cases have been increasing across Ecuador’s Amazon this month. Recent numbers collected by Ecuador’s Amazon Indigenous federation CONFENAIE show 649 cases of COVID-19 and 24 deaths confirmed in the Amazon, affecting seven of the 11 nationalities that live in the rainforest, as of June 23. The vast majority of cases are within the Kichwa and Waorani territories. Indigenous communities in the middle of the rainforest are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, as many have no access to hospitals or sufficient medication, putting their elderly populations in particular at risk.