The Minister of Justice and Public Security, Anderson Torres, said this Thursday (25) that he is against charging for the vaccination certificate against Covid-19 as a way of allowing travelers to enter Brazil.
“It is not necessary. It does not prevent the transmission of the disease”, Torres told the press. He and the ministers of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, and the Civil House, Ciro Nogueira, are responsible for deciding on the rules for controlling borders in Brazil during the pandemic.
Minister Anderson Torres beside Bolsonaro at a ceremony at Palácio do Planalto in September Adriano Machado – 13.Sep.2021/Reuters Anderson Torres and Bolsonaro smile at each other, side by side. As revealed by Folha de S.Paulo, Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) proposed adopting the vaccination passport for those who cross the Brazilian border by land or to dispense with quarantine after international flights.
The councils of health secretaries of states (Conass) and municipalities (Conasems) released a statement on Thursday (25) in support of the proposal by Anvisa.
Torres said the position against charging for the vaccine at the borders is a personal one. “Nothing has been decided yet”, he declared.
The agency recommends combining the testing of travelers with vaccination as a way to prevent the spread of the virus. The proposal was made on the 12th, after the Planalto questioned the regulatory body about Bolsonaro’s idea of reopening borders.
In a technical note, Anvisa stated that studies on transmission by vaccinated people are still scarce, but said that available data “clearly indicate that vaccination remains the key strategy for controlling the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic, including the propagation of variants such as Delta”.
President Jair Bolsonaro, who distorts data on the safety and effectiveness of immunization agents, just wants to open up the borders, without charging for the “vaccine passport,” according to government officials.
Anvisa’s proposal would be valid to allow immigration by land. Today the borders are closed, with a few exceptions.
The agency also suggests tightening the rules for international flights. The idea is for travelers to quarantine for five days, even if they have a negative RT-PCR test for the new coronavirus. Quarantine would be waived, however, for those who were vaccinated.
“The resurgence of the pandemic in European countries and the increase in cases in the US and Canada, as well as in South American countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay, according to information released today by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) , demand that Brazil adopt additional sanitary measures, in order to protect its population”, said Conass and Conasems in a statement.
Since December 2020, the government demands the presentation of the RT-PCR test, but does not require quarantine, despite Anvisa suggesting this measure for months.
Bolsonaro said on Wednesday (24) that he prefers to open borders, but does not rule the decisions of the regulatory agency. He stated that he spoke with the president of Anvisa, Antonio Barra Torres, on the subject.
“For my part, I don’t decide, I don’t control Anvisa, [mas] we would not have a closed border”, said Bolsonaro. “There is the question of the economy, tourism, a lot of things. And the virus, I already told you, has to live with it”, he also stated.
Anvisa’s idea is to prevent the increase in Covid-19 cases registered in Europe, among other places, from also occurring in Brazil. The agency also wants to prevent the country from becoming an attraction for unvaccinated tourists.
“The lack of a policy for charging vaccination certificates may allow Brazil to become one of the countries of choice for unvaccinated tourists and travelers, which is undesirable from the point of view of the risk that this group represents for the Brazilian population and for the Unified Health System”, said Anvisa in a note sent to Planalto.
The rules for entering Brazil by sea are more specific and there is still no permission to transport passengers from other countries. The government only approved for internal cruises.
The rules on entry into Brazil during the pandemic are defined by ordinances signed by the ministers of the Civil House, Health and Justice, based on opinions from Anvisa, although the agency’s recommendations, such as the imposition of quarantine, have so far been ignored.
When contacted, Saúde only said that “the criteria for the entry of foreigners or Brazilians from abroad into the country are elaborated in an integrated and inter-ministerial manner, always aiming at the security and well-being of the Brazilian population.” The Civil House did not manifest itself.