The Government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Friday decided to shut down the international borders to travelers from six African countries where the new coronavirus Omicron variant of concern has been detected.
Passengers who have been in the past two weeks in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe will no longer be admitted into Brazil, pending further notice.
Nevertheless, Bolsonaro insisted Brazil will not enter a new closure of activities.
In the President's view, the world cannot withstand a new lockdown and he insisted on questioning quarantines as an effective method in the light of the economic damages it causes.
Brazilian Cabinet Chief Ciro Nogueira explained on his Twitter account that the Government's plan was, nevertheless, to protect Brazilians in this new phase of the pandemic.
The decision is to be made official Saturday, but passengers who have been in the last two weeks in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe will not be able to enter Brazil, regardless of their vaccination status.
The restrictions follow the recommendations of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), which also suggested requiring a COVID-19 vaccination certificate for entering Brazil through land borders and international flights.
Bolsonaro, meanwhile, was at a military act in Rio de Janeiro. From there he called on the population to prepare for for the new variant, although he insisted he would not impose any quarantine.
“Anything can happen. A new variant, a new virus. We have to prepare. Brazil, the world, cannot bear a new lockdown. It will condemn everyone to misery and misery also leads to death. There is no use being scared. Confinement was not an adequate measure. As a result of the policy of 'staying home and the economy we will see later,' we now see the problems we have, Bolsonaro insisted.
The new variant of coronavirus called Omicron, detected for the first time in South Africa, was described as worrying” by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its high number of mutations and ability to spread.
The closure of borders is a measure other countries have already announced, including Argentina, the United States and Canada and the entire European Union, in the case of the bloc in principle for two weeks.