Congress to restrict in-person activities amid Omicron surge

Congress Omicron surge
Remote congressional session. Photo: Najara Araujo/CD/CC-BY 4.0

Brazil’s Congress returns from its end-of-year recess on February 2, but lawmakers’ in-person activities will remain limited. Due to the lightning-fast spread of Covid cases since the arrival of the Omicron coronavirus variant, House Speaker Arthur Lira ruled on January 17 to reinstate remote voting sessions to reduce the chance of transmission — especially considering the high number of senior citizens in the lower house.

In-person sittings will remain suspended until after Carnival, which ends on March 1.

Remote votes raised several concerns about fraud in recent years, with multiple cases of congressional aides voting on behalf of their lawmaker bosses, which is illegal. As we explained in today’s Brazil Weekly newsletter, the new legislative term begins with multiple high-profile issues on Congress’s plate.