The Brazilian government announced on Tuesday that it will not enforce vaccine mandates on international travelers to stop the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Instead, authorities will only demand proof on a negative RT-PCR test.
Travelers who cannot provide proof of vaccination will be allowed in, but will have to quarantine for five days. However, the government offered no further details on how this quarantine will be structured.
“We ask ourselves: why this vaccine passport? It’s a leash they want to put on the Brazilian people,” said President Jair Bolsonaro, during an event at the presidential palace. He claimed he would “rather die” than lose his freedom.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr. Bolsonaro complained about repeated recommendations made by federal health regulator Anvisa in favor of vaccine mandates for tourists from abroad — suggesting that it would mean “shutting down Brazil’s air space.” Antonio Barras Torres, the head of Anvisa, recently said he fears Brazil may turn into an anti-vax haven, that is, a destination of choice for unvaccinated travelers unable to enter the U.S. or the European Union.