Coronavirus: Brazil Closes Land Borders for 15 Days

  • The border with Uruguay will be the subject of a subsequent determination.
  • Brazil previously closed its border with Venezuela Tuesday, citing Nicolas Maduro's inability to control the epidemic.
  • Brazil is the Latin American country most affected by the coronavirus, with nearly 450 confirmed cases, and six deaths.

Brazil, which closed its land borders with Venezuela two days ago, decided on Thursday to close them with its other neighbors for a period of 15 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. According to a ministerial decree, the border with Uruguay will remain open.

Jair Bolsonaro is a Brazilian politician and retired military officer who has been the 38th president of Brazil since 1 January 2019. He served in the country’s Chamber of Deputies, representing the state of Rio de Janeiro, between 1991 and 2018.

“It is restricted, for a period of 15 days, counted from the date of publication of the decree, the entry into the country by road or land means of foreign nationals” from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, and Suriname. The document added that the border with Uruguay will be the subject of a subsequent determination.

The text also clarifies that the term can be extended according to the recommendations of Anvisa (National Sanitary Surveillance Agency). According to the decree, the measure will not apply to Brazilians, both born in the national territory and naturalized.

The measure provides exceptions for some foreigners: immigrants with prior authorization for permanent residence in Brazilian territory, foreign professionals on a mission in the service of an international organization, provided they are duly identified, and foreign officials accredited to the Brazilian government. For example, if they are members of the diplomatic corps from other countries.

The decree also clarifies that the restriction will not prevent “the free traffic of cargo transport by road, nor the execution of cross-border humanitarian actions previously authorized by the local health authorities, as well as the traffic of residents of twin cities with an exclusively land borderline.”

In the event of non-compliance, the decree establishes civil, administrative and criminal responsibility, and immediate deportation, in addition to the disqualification of asylum applications. In the case of Venezuela, President Jair Bolsonaro announced the partial closure of the border on Tuesday, citing the “inability” of his counterpart, Nicolás Maduro, to contain the coronavirus.

As of March 19, Brazil is the hardest-hit country in Latin America by coronavirus. At present, there are 621 confirmed cases and 7 deaths.

The closure of land borders by Brazil comes after some countries in the region have already adopted similar, even more restrictive measures, as in the case of Colombia, to contain the pandemic. The executive justified its decision by virtue of the recommendations of the health authorities in the face of “the risks of contamination and spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The restriction will also not prevent the free transit of goods between neighboring countries, the execution of humanitarian actions previously authorized by the local health authorities, or the movement of residents in cities that share the border.

Brazil is the Latin American country most affected by the coronavirus, with nearly 450 confirmed cases, and six deaths. Four of these deaths were in Sao Paulo and two in Rio de Janeiro, the two most affected states in the country. Brazil is also investigating some 11,000 cases considered “suspicious.”

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilian President, was the target of protests in several cities Wednesday because of his management of the coronavirus. It was the second consecutive day protests were seen in the country. In some neighborhoods of Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo, its inhabitants have taken advantage of the moment in which the far-right leader was broadcasting new measures on television to combat the spread of the epidemic.

Thus, thousands of citizens, many of them in a voluntary quarantine, beat pans and saucepans from their windows and balconies as a symbol of protest against the attitude of the president, whom they consider irresponsible for not doing enough against the pathogen’s advance.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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