Amid surge in COVID-19, Brazil's neighbours limit travel to virus-hit country

WION Web Team
Brasília, Brazil Published: Mar 16, 2021, 11:00 AM(IST)

Jair Bolsonaro Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Brazil has been hit by a second wave with over 1,800 deaths per day on average, up from 703 at the beginning of the year, with a new strain adding to the pressure on health services

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, Brazil's neighbouring countries have begun restricting travel to the prominent Latin American country as it battles the virus.

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Colombia has halted passenger flights to Brazil, while Argentina has decided to cut air travel to its neighbour. 

Peru had banned air traffic from Brazil as Manaus, an Amazon rainforest city, suffered the second wave of infections amid reports of other Amazon region being adversely affected by the virus. The existence of the Brazilian variant of the virus has made matters worse.

Amid the surge in cases, Brazil ordered 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and another 38 million of Johnson & Johnson jabs as ex-health minister Eduardo Pazuello had asserted that the country had secured 563 million doses by the end of the year.

President Jair Bolsonaro has been battling the surge in cases as Brazil has become the second worst-hit country after the United States, with over 11.5 million infections and over 279,280 deaths.

Bolsonaro on Monday announced that he will appoint cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga as health minister, the fourth to hold the post during the pandemic.

"The conversation (with Queiroga) was excellent," Bolsonaro said. "He has everything in my opinion to do a good job, giving continuity in everything Pazuello did until today," the Brazilian president added, even as he faces harsh criticism for handling the pandemic and earlier denials of the severity of the crisis.

"From now on, we are going to a more aggressive phase regarding the fight against the virus," Bolsonaro said.

Brazil has been hit by a second wave with over 1,800 deaths per day on average, up from 703 at the beginning of the year with the new strain adding to pressure on health services.

The country has granted full regulatory approval to the AstraZeneca vaccine even as  Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria and Thailand have suspended the use of the vaccine.

The Bolsonaro government has also announced the purchase of 10 million doses of Russia's Sputnik V in its attempt to combat the virus.

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