Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Officials in Brazil lift ban on entry for foreign nationals traveling by air, extend ground and maritime entry ban through Aug. 28.

  • Alert Begins: 30 Jul 2020 03:28 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 28 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport, travel, and business disruptions

Officials in Brazil have issued orders to lift a ban on entry for nonresident foreign nationals traveling by air, starting July 30. The new directives extend the ban on entry for most nonresident foreign nationals traveling by land or water through at least Aug. 28.

Starting July 30, foreign citizens will be allowed to enter Brazil by air, except to the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraiba, Rondonia, Rio Grande do Sul, and Tocantins. Before traveling to Brazil, visitors will have to prove they have health insurance, and their visits must not be longer than 90 days.

The ground and maritime borders will remain closed, except for Brazilian citizens, permanent residents, and foreign residents working for international organizations or for foreign governments, as well as close family members of Brazilian citizens and residents, or people working for trade or humanitarian purposes.

Domestically, authorities in most states have imposed additional, varying movement and business restrictions. Some of the restrictions in the largest states are:


  • Sao Paulo: Authorities have extended orders for residents to remain at home until Aug. 10, and continue to implement a five-tier recovery plan. The city of Sao Paulo and surrounding areas remain on Phase 3 of the plan, under which retail stores, resturants, personal care, and other businesses may open at 40-percent capacity. No region in the state is on Phase 4 or Phase 5, the least restrictive phases.


  • Rio de Janeiro: Authorities have eased multiple business restrictions, allowing restaurants, bars, gyms, and personal care businesses to operate at 50-percent capacity. Residents must wear protective facemasks in public settings. In the Metropolitan Area of Rio de Janeiro, sport and cultural events outdoors are also allowed.


  • Minas Gerais: Officials are implementing a four-tier system to reopen the economy, dividing the state in serveral regions. No region is on Phase 4, the least restrictive. Belo Horizonte and its surrounding areas remain on the most restrictive phase, under which only essential services are allowed to open.


  • Bahia: Authorities have suspended inter-municipal transport between 391 municipalities. Public events remain canceled statewide. The most-affected municipalities have a nightly curfew in place.


State and municipal officials could continue to tighten, reapply, 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. 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. Abide by local health and safety measures. Confirm appointments and travel arrangements.

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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