Municipal authorities in Rio de Janeiro claim that City Hall has shut down over 5,600 commercial establishments for breaking quarantine regulations since the pandemic began. Since March 18, inspectors have visited almost 8,300 stores — finding that most of them were not complying with the city’s quarantine rules, which only allowed “essential services” to continue operating.
To curb public gatherings, Rio has launched a hotline for citizens to report those violating the quarantine rules. It has also deployed “talking drones” broadcasting a recorded message that asks people to stay at home or keep a safe distance from others if they must be on the street. In poor neighborhoods on the city’s periphery, drug gangs are implementing similar initiatives, sending out patrol cars blasting pro-quarantine slogans.
The city of Rio de Janeiro has recorded almost 6,000 Covid-19 infections and over 500 deaths as of Friday, the second most out of all of Brazil’s states after São Paulo.
The number of deaths by “undetermined causes” in the state of Rio de Janeiro has skyrocketed by 6,100 percent in 2020, compared to last year’s figures. Governor Wilson Witzel admitted this week that while the state’s public health system is at breaking point– he is still planning to loosen social isolation measures and reopen the state’s economy. Mr. Witzel suggested that this resumption of commercial activity could occur in waves.