Brazil

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Bolsonaro tells Brazilians to 'stop whining' as Covid-19 deaths spike
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro criticized social isolation measures after the country recorded more than 1,900 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours. Bolsonaro has told Brazilians to "stop whining" and asked, "You will be crying until when?" The president further called those pushing for more vaccines "idiots".

Brazil is facing its worst phase of the pandemic yet, leaving its health system in crisis, and, in response, some cities and states have imposed their own restrictions.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian Government decides to buy Pfizer and Janssen Covid-19 vaccines
Meeting between the Brazilian Ministry of Health and Janssen
Meeting between the Brazilian Ministry of Health and Janssen Credit: Ministério da Saúde

The Brazilian Ministry of Health decided on Wednesday to sign contracts for the purchase of vaccines against Covid-19 from Pfizer and Janssen laboratories. The contracts are being drafted and must be signed by the beginning of next week, with a determination of the quantity of doses to be delivered.

The country is experiencing the most serious moment of the pandemic, with reports of collapse in the health system in different states and successive records of deaths by Covid-19, which has increased criticism of the folder for the delay in negotiations to obtain vaccines against the disease.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil records 1,726 deaths in 24 hours and breaks new pandemic record
Brazil records 1,726 deaths in 24 hours and breaks new pandemic record
Credit: Altemar Alcantara.Semcom

According to a report of the consortium of Brazilian media companies consortium released on March 2, the country recorded 1,726 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours - a record since the pandemic began - bringing the total to 257,562 deaths since its inception.

The moving average of deaths in Brazil in the last 7 days reached 1,274. The variation was 23% compared to the average 14 days ago, indicating an upward trend in deaths from the disease.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil reaches 250,000 deaths as the pace of Covid-19 deaths accelerates
Cemitery in the city of Manaus, Brazil
Cemitery in the city of Manaus, Brazil Credit: Altemar Alcantara.Semcom

According to a report of the consortium of Brazilian media companies consortium released on February 24, Brazil exceeded the mark of 250 thousand deaths due to Covid-19.

The death toll was reached amid the lack of a vaccination campaign and with new variants circulating. Experts cite the fast pace of transmission and deaths due to the lack of isolation measures and restrictions imposed by the State.

Business • Health Care
New Covid-19 mutation in California worries researchers
New Covid-19 mutation in California worries researchers
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

A corona mutation is circulating in California and other U.S. states that could be more contagious and dangerous. The data situation is still unclear, but some things seem worrying.

Now another mutation has emerged in California, it has already spread to other U.S. states and has also been detected in countries such as Australia, Denmark and Mexico. It was first discovered in December, reports the journal Science. Investigations suggest that this variant of Sars-CoV-2 could not only be more contagious but probably also takes more violent courses. According to this, intensive medical care and deaths occur more frequently - however, the data situation here is still very thin.

The researchers call the variants B.1.427 and B.1.429 - it occurs with slightly different mutations. Under a different naming scheme, it is also known as 20C/L452R.

B.1.427 / B.1.429 carries several mutations, but three seem to be particularly relevant. They affect the spike protein that the virus uses to dock with human cells. Mutation L452R, in particular, appears to increase infectivity. It apparently stabilizes the interaction between the spike protein and the receptor used by the virus. None of the three spike mutations are found in the virus variants from Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian markets rattled by Bolsonaro's removal of Petrobras chief
Petrobras horizontal logo, international version
Petrobras horizontal logo, international version Credit: Petrobras - Petróleo Brasileiro S.A.

Brazilian markets plunged on Monday after President Jair Bolsonaro removed the head of state-controlled oil company, the latest sign that his government is rolling back market-friendly policy initiatives to shore up his sinking popularity.

Bolsonaro's decision on Friday to replace the University of Chicago-educated economist at the helm of Petroleo Brasileiro SA after a feud over fuel prices surprised even his inner political circle, according to two government officials familiar with the episode.

Bolsonaro's popularity is dropping to near record lows after a program of cash handouts expired in December, with an MDA poll published Monday showing his approval rating fell 8 percentage points to 32.9% over the past four months.

Regional News • Americas • South America
Haitian migrants, authorities clash on Peru-Brazil border
Migrants clash with Police at the Peru-Brazil border
Migrants clash with Police at the Peru-Brazil border Credit: Alexandre Noronha/Amazônia Real

Forbidden to cross the border that separates the Brazilian city of Assis Brasil from Iñapari, Peru due to the Covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of Haitian migrants on February 16th, headed to the neighbouring country where the group was suppressed by riot police as soon as they entered Peru.

"Affected by the Brazilian economic crisis, they are seeking to return to their country or go to another country in the region," said journalist Nacho Lemus. He explained that migrants from the Caribbean country warned that there is no chance of survival in Brazilian asylums during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, the mayor's office of Assis told reporters that the governor of Acre, Gladson Cameli, contacted the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to "manage a humanitarian nature request through diplomatic channels" that authorizes the entry of the migrants into Peruvian territory.

Climate & Environment
BNP Paribas will no longer finance companies that exploit deforested land in the Amazon
BNP Paribas logo
BNP Paribas logo Credit: BNP Paribas

France's biggest bank, BNP Paribas on Monday promised to stop financing companies that buy cattle or soya produced on Amazon land deforested or converted after 2008. The bank also said it will encourage clients not to buy or produce beef or soy from the Cerrado, which occupies 20 per cent of Brazil, only financing those who adopt a zero deforestation strategy by 2025.

Population growth and rapidly expanding middle classes in countries like China are stimulating an explosion of demand for soybeans and increasing consumption of meat and dairy products.

Technology • Internet & Web
Google to pay UK publishers for news
Google logo
Google logo Credit: Rajeshwar Bachu

Google has launched Google News Showcase in the UK and Argentina, offering selected paywall content to users for free. News Showcase is already available in Germany, Brazil and, as of last week, Australia. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, said the program would help the company pay $1 billion to publishers over the next three years.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil dam collapse: Vale will pay a $7 billion compensation for 270 killed
Brazil dam collapse: Vale will pay a $7 billion compensation for 270 killed
Credit: Ricardo Stuckert

The Brumadinho dam, owned by Vale, contained waste from an iron ore mine but gave way, unleashing a sea of mud which engulfed a staff canteen, offices and farms, killing 270 people. The company will pay $7 billion to the victim's families.

After the 2019 Brumadinho disaster, Brazilian prosecutors charged 16 people, including Vale's ex-president Fabio Schvartsman, with intentional homicide and environmental offences, alleging they hid the risk of a dam collapse.

Vale said it would pay both "socio-economic" and "socio-environmental" reparations, funding projects to repair the surrounding environment, including a massive clean-up of the Paraopeba river.

Business • Markets
Brazilian fintech Nubank raises $400M Series G
NuBank logo
NuBank logo Credit: NuBank

NuBank, a fintech based in São Paulo, Brazil, is valued at $25 billion as the fourth most valuable financial institution in Latin America and the largest digital bank in the world by the number of customers and app downloads.

The round was led by private and public investors including Singapore’s GIC, Whale Rock, and Invesco. Current investors Tencent, Dragoneer, Ribbit Capital, and Sequoia also participated in the round.

Regional News • World
New Zealand responded to Covid-19 the best, Brazil the worst – study
New Zealand responded to Covid-19 the best, Brazil the worst – study
Credit: Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Sydney's Lowy Institute assessed the Covid-19 response of 98 countries on six different criteria – including cases, deaths and testing – and ranked New Zealand's response to the virus the best. The other countries that made the top 10 are Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Cyprus, Rwanda, Iceland, Australia, Latvia and Sri Lanka. The United States, Mexico, Colombia and Iran and Brazil were in the bottom five, with Brazil being ranked at the bottom.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany to ban entry for travellers from the UK, Portugal, Brazil and South Africa to curb spread of Covid mutations
Munich International Airport, passport controls, Jan 2017
Munich International Airport, passport controls, Jan 2017 Credit: Vasyatka1, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Germany is set to impose an entry ban for travellers from Portugal, Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom in an effort to curb the spread of more potent Covid-19 variants.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) said before a video meeting with his European counterparts that coordination with the EU had been unsuccessful because some member states remained too lax. "We cannot count on a European solution. That is why we are now preparing this nationally," Seehofer said.

Regional News • Europe
Portugal suspends flights from Brazil
Heather Cowper TAP aeroplane at Lisbon airport
Heather Cowper TAP aeroplane at Lisbon airport Credit: Heather Cowper (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Portuguese Interior Ministry said that the worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic in the world and the detection of new variants justified the decision. The suspension will happen, initially, between January 29th and February 14th.

Only repatriation and humanitarian flights are allowed and even then travelers will need to show a negative Covid-19 test result that was done 72 hours before boarding and will submit to a 14-day isolation period.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil paid twice as much as EU for first AstraZeneca vaccine delivery
Brazil paid twice as much as EU for first AstraZeneca vaccine delivery
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Brazilian government will pay the Serum Institute in India more than twice as much as European Union have earmarked for AstraZeneca vaccines. In a statement at the beginning of January, Fiocruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation) confirmed the negotiation and indicated that "the institute will offer the ready vaccines to the market for US$5.25 each".

In recent weeks, an alleged error by the Belgian Minister for the Budget has allowed the prices of different doses of vaccines to be revealed to the European public, with a value of US$2.16 for AstraZeneca doses.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Rio de Janeiro mayor discards Carnival happening in July, after first postponement from February
Rio de Janeiro mayor discards Carnival happening in July, after first postponement from February
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, announced that the 2020 Carnaval would not be held in July on Thursday, as it seems the immunisation campaign against Covid-19 will be delayed in the city.

"This celebration requires a great deal of preparation on the part of public bodies and of samba associations and institutions. Something impossible to do at that moment. Thus, I would like to inform you that we will not have Carnaval in the middle of the year in 2021", said Paes.

When it deliberated on the postponement to July, the Independent League of Samba Schools (Liesa) made the parades conditional on the immunisation campaign against Covid-19.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilians celebrate arrival of Venezuelan oxygen supplies to struggling Manaus
Brazilians celebrate arrival of Venezuelan oxygen supplies to struggling Manaus
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Venezuela had announced on January 14 that in light of the humanitarian crisis provoked by a drastic increase in Covid-19 cases in Amazonas, it would send 130,000 litres of oxygen to support the struggling public health system. In addition to the oxygen tanks, the Venezuelan government also formed a brigade with 107 Brazilian and Venezuelan doctors, graduates of the Salvador Allende Latin American School of Medicine in Caracas, to help combat the pandemic in the State.

Brazil has been one of the worst impacted countries during the pandemic, which progressive movements have largely attributed to the mismanagement of the public health crisis by the federal government under far-right Jair Bolsonaro.

Regional News • World
Biden to not lift international travel restrictions
An officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations welcomes and clears international travelers arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., March 13, 2020.
An officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations welcomes and clears international travelers arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., March 13, 2020. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jen Psaki, President-elect Joe Biden’s press secretary, dismissed Donald Trump's order to lift the ban on travellers from Europe and Brazil that has been in place since March 2020, instead announced plans to "strengthen public health measures around international travel."

"With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel," Psaki tweeted. "On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19."

Health
The first person to be vaccinated in Brazil is a black woman, ICU nurse, minutes after Coronavac being approved
The first person to be vaccinated in Brazil is a black woman, ICU nurse, minutes after Coronavac being approved
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Minutes after the first vaccine being approved for use in Brazil, the Coronavac Vaccine by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac, the first person that has been vaccinated is a black woman, 54 years old, working in Sao Paulo's Emilio Ribas hospital, as ICU nurse.

Health
India says Brazil rushed to send plane for vaccine
India says Brazil rushed to send plane for vaccine
Credit: Tony Winston/MS (Public Domain)

A spokesman for the Indian Foreign Ministry told the Hindustan Times that it was "too early" to send the batches of the vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute in partnership with Oxford University and pharmacist AstraZeneca.

On 5 January, Brazil's Foreign Ministry confirmed the purchase of Oxford vaccine doses produced in India, despite the Indian government's announcement that the vaccine's export was banned. The statement also mentioned plans to distribute the vaccines to Brazilian states within a few days of authorization from the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) and highlighted the successful acquisition of the doses with an example of the "excellent relations" between the two countries.