Brazil holds the world’s second-highest Covid-19 death toll, behind only the United States. Until today, though, it had declined to take serious action to stop the spread of the virus.
Following the widespread outcry, the country will require unvaccinated foreign visitors arriving by plane to spend five days in quarantine in their city of destination.
The decision was published by the ministries of health, justice, infrastructure as well as the government’s chief of staff on Thursday.
On several occasions, the far-right Brazilian president has attacked the usage of face masks and boasted about not being vaccinated.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that this week he publicly attacked Brazil’s Health Authority (Anvisa) for trying to impose some regulations.
In a speech to business leaders, the president falsely accused the agency of attempting to shut down Brazil’s airspace.
“For God’s sake, this again? Are we really going to start going on about this business again?”… “Ah, Omicron! We’ve got bags of variants ahead of us,” he complained.
In a recent report, Anvisa officials warned not requiring vaccination “could turn Brazil into one of the countries of choice for unvaccinated tourists and travelers, which would be undesirable given the risk this group poses to the Brazilian population and National Health Service.”
But, the ongoing lack of ICU beds, medication, and oxygen, together with the threat posed by the novel Omicron variant has forced the government to slightly adjust its approach for international arrivals.
The mechanisms the country will use to enforce said quarantine are yet to be announced.
Whatever they will be, on day five of the quarantine unvaccinated travelers must take another RT-PCR or antigen test, as per the U.S. Embassy.
Visitors who test positive must follow Brazilian Ministry of Health guidelines and those whose results return negative can resume their trips through the country.
Regardless of their vaccination status, all air passengers traveling to Brazil must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding.
A Senate panel recently suggested that the far-right president be indicted for his handling of the pandemic. Experts believe, not much could be actually done.