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 doesn’t have to. It doesn’t 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.
as revealed to sheet, 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.
In internal government discussions, representatives of the Ministry of Health supported Anvisa’s recommendation, but the portfolio headed by Queiroga has not yet presented a formal opinion on the subject.
In a note sent to Planalto, Anvisa proposes that the vaccine be applied 14 days before embarking to Brazil on an international flight or crossing the land border.
The agency argues that it follows guidance from countries like the United States, Canada, Chile, among others.
“The resurgence of the pandemic in European countries and the increase in cases in the USA 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.
“Anvisa has repeatedly reinforced to the Interministerial Committee the importance of the quarantine or self-quarantine measure, which, if carried out in accordance with the guidelines of the health authorities, allows greater security to public health, interrupting the chain of transmission of variants of the virus, already which aims to avoid the traveler’s contact with other susceptible people,” stated Anvisa in the technical note sent to Planalto.
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 wouldn’t have a closed border,” Bolsonaro said. “There’s 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 safety and well-being of the Brazilian population”.
The Civil House released a statement on Thursday (25) stating that there was no recent change in the rules on the entry of travelers into Brazil. The text was released hours after Anvisa confirmed that it asked for the adoption of the “vaccine passport”.
“Possible changes in the ordinance are under analysis with the participation of all bodies involved in the matter,” said the Civil House. “The technical opinions of all the bodies involved are evaluated jointly, respecting the principles of opportunity and convenience. Only after all these analyzes will the decision be published in a new ordinance,” the folder also stated.