Brazil’s health regulators want travel ban on six countries

variant Brazil's health regulators want travel ban on six countries
Photo: PHCZ/Shutterstock

As the surge of the so-called Omicron coronavirus variant (B.1.1.529) worries markets and health experts across the world, Brazilian federal health regulator Anvisa recommended that the government restricts the entry of travelers who have been to South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and Zimbabwe in the last 14 days.

European countries, Israel, Singapore, and others have already moved to restrict travel from southern African countries in a frantic attempt to avoid the spread of the new variant within their territories. Health officials caution that many of the new variant’s mutations could lead to increased antibody resistance and transmissibility, limiting the efficacy of Covid vaccines.

The Jair Bolsonaro administration, however, has a history of being against Covid restrictions — and just yesterday Justice Minister Anderson Torres said the government is against imposing vaccine mandates on foreign travelers, a direct recommendation from regulators.

Moreover, President Bolsonaro said today that a new Covid wave is coming, but reaffirmed he is against any closures of airports — adding that “the virus is already here” and that one “must learn how to live with the virus, unfortunately.”