Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro once again insisted on his stance regarding compulsory COVID-19 vaccination certificates for arriving foreign travelers, which sparked a new controversy with São Paulo State Governor João Doria.
The head of state defended his stance despite the appearance of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus, due to which he decreed visitors from abroad would need to go through quarantine.
Doria proposed the mandatory vaccination passport and accused Bolsonaro of wanting to turn the country into a paradise for unvaccinated tourists. A southeastern governor makes a threat and says that no one is going to enter his state if he is not vaccinated, Bolsonaro said. What a state! What the fuck!, Bolsonaro went on.
They wanted us to impose the obligation of the vaccination certificate, how can I accept a mandatory vaccination card if I did not take the vaccine? Bolsonaro wondered, as he insisted he had the right to be vaccinated or not, after saying earlier this week that he preferred to die unvaccinated rather than lose the freedom to decide.
Later on, the head of state launched what appeared to be a call to his followers to demonstrate against vaccination passports. We all have to react. How do we have to react? Well, protesting, he explained.
Bolsonaro loyalists have already staged a protest against Doria, whom they dubbed a little dictator for defending mandatory vaccination and social distancing. Last Wednesday a group of anti-vaccine militants, allegedly linked to Bolsonarism, held a riot at Rio de Janeiro's Legislative Assembly.
Brazil was the first country in Latin America where the new Omicron strain was detected. So far, six cases have been found: three in São Paulo, two in Brasilia and one in Rio Grande do Sul.
In this scenario, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) has recommended a mandatory vaccination passport be required to all foreign passengers.
According to a decree published Thursday in the Official Gazette, foreigners arriving at Brazilian airports must submit a negative PCR test and optionally a vaccination certificate. Those without prove of vaccination will have to quarantine for 5 days, after which they will have to undergo a new PCR test.
Scientists fear it will not be easy to monitor whether these tourists effectively remain five days in isolation, which will in the end result in a wider spread of Omicron.