São Paulo creates weeklong holiday to keep people at home

São Paulo creates weeklong holiday to keep people at home
Isolation rates have been too low for containing the coronavirus spread. Photo: AGB Photo Library/Shutterstock

“São Paulo is known as the city which never stops, but we need it to stop now,” said Mayor Bruno Covas of São Paulo, during a press conference on Thursday. He announced that the next five municipal holidays — including three in 2022 — will be brought forward to later this month, in a push to reduce the circulation of people and contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The city will not have a single business day between March 26 and Easter Sunday on April 4. Also, São Paulo’s urban driving restrictions will have extended to keep people from moving around the city.

Mr. Covas’ announcement comes as city officials confirmed the first death of a Covid-19 patient who was waiting for an ICU bed

The mayor claims that a strict lockdown is effectively impossible in São Paulo. “We have 1,000 municipal guards [to monitor 12.3 million people]. It’s not viable to enforce whether people are leaving their homes,” he said.

Back in March 2020, isolation rates in the city hit an all-time high 59 percent. Since August, however, it has never gone above 51 percent.

Support this coverage →Support this coverage →