Brazil health authorities Thursday set up a huge awning about 50 meters from the International Friendship Bridge crossing into Paraguay to carry out quick COVID-19 tests. The campaign will span for two weeks and will not be mandatory.
The test was developed by the leading Rio de Janeiro-based Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz).
The testing post is an initiative of Brazil's federal Health Ministry which chose five regions to perform the rapid tests. In addition to Foz de Iguaçu, similar developments are taking place in Campo Grande, Belo Horizonte, Natal and Porto Velho.
Tests will be at no cost for Paraguayans who cross the border daily from Ciudad del Este. Those with a “positive” result will be directed to quarantine for 10 days and then invited to leave the country. Testing will be available between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The authorities hope to carry out around 800 tests per day.
Meanwhile, in Rio de Janeiro, where the Fiocruz institute is located, proof of vaccination against Covid-19 has become mandatory to access gyms, swimming pools, fitness centres, clubs, stadiums, cinemas, theatres, circuses, concert halls, museums, children's recreation, tourist places and fairs.
The measure had been announced on Aug. 27 and was to become effective Sept. 1, but it was delayed due to instability in the ConnectSUS application through which citizens can generate the digital proof of inoculation.
The document is also required to be eligible for health care assistance at public institutions.
The new measure is said to have caught tourists by surprise as many of them became uneligible to visit the city's attractions.
For Mayor Eduardo Paes, the so-called vaccination passport is a “preparation for the opening” of the city, which many hope will begin in November.