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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - When the couple Viviane Santos, 26, and Adriano da Silva, 39, learned about the R$600 (US$120) emergency aid for casual and low-income freelancers due to the coronavirus pandemic, they felt relieved. "But when we looked at the bureaucracy to secure the aid, it was as if the end of the tunnel was farther away," says Viviane.

"Work since the pandemic has been reduced to zero," says Adriano, a bricklayer. With no fixed job and living in a suburban housing in São Paulo, they never relied on government for the basics: water, electricity . . .

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