The Brazilian Government of President Jair Bolsonaro, known for his personal stance in favor of freedom of choice regarding COVID-19 vaccination, has announced arriving travelers who have not been immunized will be put through mandatory quarantine.
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga made the announcement and refused to describe the measure as a vaccine passport. In addition to the isolation time, unvaccinated individuals with be required to undergo a PCR test.
Queiroga also explained that those who are indeed vaccinated must produce their certificates attesting to that condition plus a negative PCR test prior to traveling. He also explained the measure will be implemented through an inter-ministerial resolution which will include all borders (land, air and sea).
So far, the only land border crossing open by Brazil is the one that links it with Paraguay. Argentines going by car must first go from Posadas to the Paraguayan city of Encarnación and then on to Ciudad del Este through Foz de Iguaçú, where 80 troops from Brazil's National Force have arrived over the weekend to reinforce control operations.
According to official announcements, the law enforcement agents were sent to combat smuggling as well as drug, arms and ammunition trafficking. It is hard to imagine they will not be involved in checking vaccination certificates and sending unvaccinated travelers to their isolation venues. Rogério Antonio Lopes, chief delegate of the Civil Police of Foz de Iguaçú, explained the National Force police will contribute to a better distribution of security forces in the most critical access points to the state of Paraná. There are also 25 other military personnel assigned to administrative roles as well as guarding Foz prisons. These officers are to return to the streets for preventive work, it was announced.
These reinforcements come from the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and has a very competent team, said Lieutenant Colonel André Cristiano Dorecki, commander of the Border Police Battalion (BPFron). According to BPFron data, between January and September of this year, a total of 156 tons of marijuana were seized, which represents more than 70% of the drug seized in the state of Paraná.
Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) had suggested banning flights from five other African countries as a result of the Omicron variant and institutionalizing a 'vaccine pass' to enter the country. Queiroga's refusal to admit Brazil was in fact requesting a health pass was dubbed as rhetorical juggling.
Bolsonaro had said Tuesday that Anvisa wanted to close the country's airspace. And the new measures will certainly have an impact on tourism this Summer. Families with just one unvaccinated member who have already made reservations may start cancelling them before the ministerial resolution is even signed, a tour operator was quoted as saying. But adding mandatory PCR testing increases the cost of travel, which may too result in further changes of plans from people in neighboring countries. Queiroga and Cabinet Chief Ciro Nogueira, announced that there will be quarantine for those not vaccinated and reported that those vaccinated must present the vaccination certificate. The new measures are due to become effective as of this week.