President Jair Bolsonaro has informed reporters that he will sign off on a partial shutdown of the Brazil-Venezuela border. The circulation of people will be forbidden, but goods will continue to be allowed to transit between the two countries.
“Tomorrow the Federal Register will include a decree with a special shutdown of the Venezuelan border, which is the most sensitive one. Now, people hear this and think that ‘closing the border’ is a magical move. If we could completely shut down a border as some believe we can, [Brazil] wouldn’t have guns and drugs pouring into the country. We’ve got 17,000 kilometers of borders,” said the president.
“[But] goods traffic will continue, otherwise, the economy of [Brazil’s northernmost state of] Roraima will go to the drain,” he added.
According to researchers of the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, Venezuela has 33 confirmed coronavirus infections at the moment—nearly 10 times fewer than Brazil. Colombia (68), Peru (117), and Argentina are bordering countries with more confirmed cases.
To Mr. Bolsonaro’s point, Venezuela is under an authoritarian president—and such regimes tend to be opaque over sensitive health issues.