Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Brazil extend international travel restrictions until at least June 21. Additional regional restrictions remain in place.

This alert affects Brazil

This alert began 25 May 2020 13:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport, travel, and business disruptions

Officials in Brazil extended the ban on entry of all nonresident foreign nationals by air, land, and water for a period of 30 days as of May 22, as part of the country's efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials did not state when the 30-day period started, but the measure is likely to be in place through at least June 21. Foreign nationals with a layover in Brazil en route to their destination countries are exempt as long as they do not leave the international area of the airport. Foreigners will be allowed to cross the border into Brazil provided they have proof of an onward flight that takes them to their country of residence, but they will need permission from the federal police. The entry restrictions do not apply to air, ground, or maritime freight transport, nor to humanitarian transport.

Domestically, authorities in most states have imposed additional movement and business restrictions of varying degrees of restrictiveness, including suspending nonessential commercial activity, temporarily canceling in-person classes at schools and universities, restricting public transportation, and mandating the use of a protective mask for all individuals in public. The use of a protective mask is mandatory in major cities such as Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Sao Paulo. Some local governments have also imposed mandatory stay-at-home orders, the most notable of which are:

  • Fortaleza, Ceara: Authorities extended a mandatory lockdown in Fortaleza until at least May 31, prohibiting all nonessential movements and suspending most nonessential business. Entry and exit to the city is also restricted. Less restrictive measures are in place elsewhere in Ceara State.
  • Rio de Janeiro: Authorities have extended mandatory social isolation orders and the closure of nonessential businesses until May 31 in most parts of the state. Public transport services have been limited, and buses and trains can only operate at half passenger capacity. Beaches, lakes, and rivers are closed to visitors, and residents are not allowed to travel between municipalities.
  • Sao Paulo: Authorities extended a statewide quarantine until at least May 31. The measure mandates the closure of all nonessential face-to-face services, including restaurants, bars, shopping centers, and schools. Critical services will be allowed to continue operating. Residents are urged to limit their time outside their homes.

State and municipal officials could continue to tighten or deescalate their local restrictive measures over the coming weeks, depending on local disease activity and government preparedness to respond to the disease. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Brazilian authorities are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. The varied level of restrictions across Brazil is largely a result of disagreements over social isolation policies, between state governors and President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been accused of not taking decisive enough action to prevent the spread of the disease.

Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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