The Supreme Court of Brazil obliges the Government to request the COVID certificate from foreigners | International

A line to get vaccinated against the covid in Rio de Janeiro, which has started immunizing 17-year-olds this month.
A line to get vaccinated against the covid in Rio de Janeiro, which has started immunizing 17-year-olds this month.Antonio Lacerda (EFE)

The Supreme Federal Court of Brazil ordered that all travelers entering the country from abroad present proof of having been vaccinated against COVID. The decision of magistrate Luis Roberto Barroso contradicts the position of the Government of Jair Bolsonaro, which until now required only a five-day quarantine for travelers, but not the immunization certificate. The judge justifies the demand due to the urgency of the issue and the risk that Brazil will become a destination for anti-vaccine tourism.

The ruling has to be confirmed in a hearing of the virtual plenary session of the Court, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. The requirement, however, will begin to apply from before that collegiate decision, as soon as the authorities are notified, which should happen this Monday.

“The daily entry of thousands of travelers into the country, the approach of the end of the year festivities, events prior to the carnival and the carnival itself, apt to attract a large number of tourists, and the threat of promoting anti-vaccine tourism, given the imprecision of the norms to require their verification, they constitute an unequivocal imminent risk ”, writes Judge Barroso in his decision.

The magistrate responded to a demand from the Sustainability Network party, in opposition to Bolsonaro, which required the federal government to adopt measures recommended by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) to contain the spread of the coronavirus, especially in the face of the new omicron variant.

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According to Barroso, limiting these measures to a five-day quarantine “created a situation of absolute lack of control and consequent ineffectiveness of the norm.” “There are already more than 600,000 lives lost, and denial attitudes still persist,” he added.

The ruling determines that the proof of vaccination can be replaced by a quarantine only in the case of travelers not eligible for vaccination, or “who come from countries where there is no proven vaccination available with a wide scope.”

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The decision of the minister contrary to that defended by the Government. In the last week, President Bolsonaro refused to adopt a COVID passport for travelers, because, according to the president, it is preferable “to die than to lose freedom.” The words uttered last Tuesday in a speech at the Planalto Palace, the headquarters of the presidency in Brasilia, were endorsed hours later by his Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga.

“We now see a huge fight here over the vaccination passport. He who is favorable must not be forgotten: tomorrow someone may impose something on you that you are not favorable to. And one wonders: who gets vaccinated can get the virus? Yes you can, and you get it. Can you pass it on? Yes, and it transmits it. You can die? Yes, it can, as many people have died, unfortunately, “said the president.

Queiroga corroborated this by saying that Brazil aspires to be “the paradise of world tourism.” “It is necessary to defend individual freedoms, respect the rights of Brazilians to freely access public health policies. We are going to control health, make our economy return to generate employment and income. That issue of vaccination, as I remarked, worked because we respect individual freedoms. The president now said recently: ‘Sometimes, it is better to lose your life than to lose your freedom,’ “reiterated the Minister of Health.

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On November 27, the Government had decided to ban the entry of travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe, the region where the omicron variant was detected. This Saturday, the state of São Paulo, the most populous in Brazil, confirmed its fourth case of the new variant, the eighth known in the country. It is about a 67-year-old man who did not travel outside of Brazil. Health authorities are still working to verify if the newly infected person has approached someone with a travel history. For this reason, it is not yet possible to determine whether there is already community transmission in Brazil, which occurs when the contagion is already so widespread that the origin of the infection cannot be identified.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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