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To encourage social isolation, São Paulo could create 6-day ‘weekend’

. May 18, 2020
To encourage social isolation, São Paulo could create 6-day 'weekend' São Paulo's Luz train station. Photo: Mltz/Shutterstock

Politicians in São Paulo are bending over backward to avoid a full-scale lockdown in Brazil’s most-populated city, with the local healthcare network approaching collapse. After failed attempts to raise social isolation rates by imposing congestion measures or simply blocking major avenues, São Paulo city councilors passed a bill transferring two public holidays — Corpus Christi (June 11) and Black Consciousness Day (November 20) to this Wednesday and Thursday. Friday will be an optional holiday for companies.

São Paulo Governor João Doria, in the meantime, proposed transferring the July 9 state holiday to Monday, creating a six-day “weekend.” “It has become clear over the past 56 days that social isolation rates go up during weekends and holidays, which helps contain the pandemic. We hope we will get isolation rates similar to regular holidays this time around,” said Mr. Doria. Official data shows that social isolation rates in the state were 54 percent on Sunday. The highest of the month was 59 percent on May 3, also a Sunday.

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Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist, Gustavo has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. He has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets and founded The Brazilian Report in 2017. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

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