Brazil closed its land borders for 15 days

The measure excludes Uruguay and clarifies that the transport of goods will be authorized, as well as the entry into the country of Brazilian citizens

Brazil announced on Thursday the closure of its land borders with its neighbors, except Uruguay, for a period of 15 days, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a ministerial decree indicated.

“It is restricted, for a period of 15 days, counted from the date of publication of the decree, the entry into the country by road or land means of foreign nationals” from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname , indicates the document.

The text adds that Uruguay will be the subject of a subsequent determination. President Jair Bolsonaro had already announced on Tuesday the closure of the border with Venezuela, with a health system hit by the economic crisis.

The measure clarifies that the transport of goods will be authorized, as well as the entry into the country of Brazilians, immigrants with permanent residence, foreign professionals on mission and humanitarian missions., among others.

The Brazilian government’s decision comes after Argentina, Chile, and Colombia took more drastic measures, closing all their land, sea, and air borders to avoid a major impact from COVID-19.

The decree, whose validity can be extended, indicates that the measure was adopted “for health reasons related to the risks of contamination and spread of the coronavirus.”

Brazil, with more than 210 million inhabitants, has so far registered four deaths in Sao Paulo and 428 infected throughout the country.

Under pressure from leaders of Congress, the Supreme Court and businessmen, Bolsonaro began to take stronger measures in the face of the coronavirus crisis in recent days, after having questioned from the start the “hysteria” before the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the far-right leader asked Parliament to declare a “state of calamity” in order to free up funds and met with his crisis cabinet.

That day he recognized for the first time at a press conference with several of his ministers, all wearing face masks, that this was a “serious” matter, but that it should not trigger “panic”.

After a significant increase in infections, the city of Sao Paulo and the state of Rio de Janeiro declared an emergency, banned crowds, restricted public transport and limited activities in shopping centers.

Bolsonaro tested negative for COVID-19, after at least 17 members of the delegation that accompanied him on a trip to the United States tested positive for the new coronavirus.

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