Brazil Reopens Borders Despite No Decrease In COVID Cases

While countries all over the world are deciding to reopen their international borders only after their coronavirus situations have stabilized and been contained, Brazil is taking a different approach. As of July 29th, the country has reopened itself up to international air travel and foreign tourists once again – something that had been banned since March.

GOL is a Brazilian carrier using an all-737 fleet. Photo: GOL Linhas Aereas

According to Straits Times, tourists from all countries (who would normally be allowed with the standard paperwork and visas) are now able to travel to Brazil. The one stipulation is that visitors must be in possession of a valid health insurance policy for the duration of their trip.

Going against the grain

Many other countries that have reopened have done so only after their coronavirus situations have been put under control. The EU reopened its borders to countries with a similar or better epidemiological situation. Some other countries are allowing visitors with the requirement of a strict 14-day quarantine (such as South Korea).

The neighboring countries of Colombia, Argentina, Panama, and Peru all remain closed to international commercial flights, despite having better situations than Brazil.

Brazil is clearly going a different route than its neighbors in the region and others in the international community. This course of action is not surprising with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro in power. The populist has economic growth as one of his key points of focus. Thus, with Brazil’s tourism economy suffering, allowing international visitors is one effort to stimulate the struggling sector.

Both the President and his wife have now tested positive for the coronavirus. Photo: Getty Images

Not only would this policy stimulate tourism, but this would also be a huge boost to the nation’s struggling airline industry. The country has already had one airline fall victim to bankruptcy, with LATAM Brasil filing for Chapter 11 protection in the United States. Other airlines in Brazil aren’t doing too much better.

Is it safe to travel to Brazil?

If the numbers are to believed, it doesn’t seem like many parts of Brazil would be safe to travel to. Brazil has the second-highest number of cases in the world. Even when adjusted for population, it is still one of the worst situations for a country of its size.

Many countries have explicitly banned travelers from Brazil from entering their borders due to the nation’s poor handle of the pandemic.

Azul airline Embraer E195E1 Getty Images
Budget carrier Azul has been working to boost its flight offerings in recent weeks. Photo: Getty Images

In fact, Straits Times is also reporting that, in some cases, Brazilians are packing into bars and crowded public squares without masks, blatantly defying local rules. As much of what Brazil has to offer is city life and a vibrant social scene, this may be a big risk for visitors.

Given the country’s situation, many countries may have travel advisories against travel to Brazil. This would in-turn affect health insurance or travel insurance coverage where it pertains to COVID-19. Anyone considering a trip to the country is advised to read the fine print and conditions of validity of their travel insurance policies.

Would you go to Brazil at this point? Why or why not? Let us know by leaving a comment.