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Brazil's STF upholds vaccination pass for incoming travelers

Thursday, December 16th 2021 - 20:30 UTC
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Unvaccinated Brazilians and foreign residents need to undergo a 5-day quarantine
Unvaccinated Brazilians and foreign residents need to undergo a 5-day quarantine

Brazil's Supreme Federal Court has ratified in plenum a preliminary ruling by Justice Luis Roberto Barroso whereby migration authorities shall require foreign travelers to submit proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before being allowed into the country.

 The measure is aimed at preventing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. Unvaccinated foreign residents will be let through the borders, it was announced.

With six votes from the 11-member Court, it was decided that the vaccination certificate measure shall remain in force. In addition to Barroso, Justices Cármen Lúcia, Alexandre de Moraes, Rosa Weber, Edson Fachin and Chief Justice Luiz Fux supported the vaccination certificate.

President Jair Bolsonaro opposes the certificate because he considers it a measure by which citizens' “freedom” of decision is thwarted and the Attorney General has filed an appeal before the STF against the mandatory nature of the certificate.

As per Barroso's rationale, native Brazilians and foreign residents who return to the country without having been vaccinated may enter but shall be required to undergo a five-day quarantine after which they must carry out an RT-PCR test.

Barroso also ruled that in order to avoid jammings upon arrival, airlines must require proof of vaccination to their passengers before letting them board their flights. “Minister Luís Roberto Barroso clarifies that the control of proof of vaccination can be done, as a rule, by airlines at the time of boarding, as is already done with the PCR test and the declaration to Anvisa”, according to an STF statement. Justice Barroso issued his ruling last Saturday.

The Brazilian Association of Airline Companies (Abear) said that ”its members are already requesting the vaccination certificate onboarding to Brazil, as decided by Minister Luís Barroso (STF), and are awaiting the publication of a new government decree to standardize the rules for entry into the country.”

The vaccine passport was proposed by Anvisa to the federal government, to which Bolsonaro flatly opposed. He is not vaccinated against COVID.

On December 9, the government had published an ordinance requiring either proof of vaccination or a mandatory quarantine for anyone unvaccinated who wished to enter Brazil. But following a cyber attack on the Ministry of Health's software, the measure was put on hold.

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