São Paulo to start “conscious” reopening on June 1

São Paulo state to start "conscious" reopening on June 1
Photo: Nelson Antoine/Shutterstock

The government of São Paulo state will begin the gradual reopening of Brazil’s biggest economy from June 1, but stricter isolation measures may be adopted if the Covid-19 situation worsens, said Governor João Doria.     

The plan, referred to as the “conscious resumption” of the São Paulo economy, will have five phases and will be implemented in the cities that present a “consistent reduction of cases, availability of hospital beds in public and private sectors, as well as respecting social isolation and mandatory use of masks,” said Mr. Doria in a press conference this afternoon. 

The governor also warned that the state may resume stricter social isolation measures if they are needed. “This conscious resumption requires the help of everyone and we will be monitoring the process’ development on a daily basis. If we have to reimplement the measures we are now easing gradually, we won’t hesitate to do so.”  

The five phases are defined as follows:

  1. Maximum alert. With infections ongoing, only essential services are allowed;
  2. Control. Attention and sporadic reopening. This phase would allow restricted operations of real estate activities, car dealerships, offices, commerce, and shopping malls. Restrictions include social distancing and changes in working hours;
  3. Flexibilization. More activities will be allowed to open, such as bars and restaurants, as well as beauty parlors.
  4. Partial reopening. As cases decrease, fewer restrictions are implemented. Gyms and fitness centers would be allowed to reopen, with restrictions.
  5. Controlled normal. All activities are back, following government protocols. This includes public spaces, movie theaters, and sporting events. 

A region may only progress to the next phase after 14 days and the easing may be interrupted if the government believes it is necessary. The city of São Paulo is currently in Phase 2, but neighboring areas of the metropolitan region and the Santos coastline are still in the critical Phase 1, according to the state government. 

Like Europe?

João Gabbardo, former right-hand man to ex-Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta and now leader of São Paulo’s Covid-19 Contingency Center, said in this afternoon’s press conference that Brazil’s infection curve is “very good” in comparison to the U.S. and European countries. “If we look at cases and deaths proportional to the population, [Brazil] is close to Germany and much better than Spain, France, Italy, and the U.S.”

All experts agree that social isolation has gone some way toward mitigating the crisis, saving 65,000 lives, according to the state’s estimates. But saying that São Paulo — or Brazil — has dealt with the pandemic better than European countries seems to be a major stretch. While the aforementioned countries saw rapid rises in cases, they managed to control the spread of the virus much quicker than São Paulo — where the infection curve continues to grow, three months after recording its first case.

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