Quarantine Brazil Now

By Gwynne Dyer, in Opinion, News · 08-03-2021 15:00:00 · 25 Comments

If I were World Dictator, I would immediately place Brazil under total quarantine: nobody gets in, nobody comes out. And I would keep it isolated until they (a) arrest and jail President Jair Bolsonaro; (b) impose a strict countrywide lockdown for at least two months; and (c) vaccinate everybody in the country (all 213,584,556 of them). And then we’ll see.

They’d have to lock Bolsonaro up first because he flatly refuses to do any kind of lockdown. He also regards vaccines as sissy and will not support a national programme to vaccinate the population. Some state governors are trying to buy vaccines for their own local populations, but he publicly berates them as cowards for worrying about “a little flu.”

Bolsonaro is Donald Trump on stilts, and is largely responsible for Brazil’s sky-high Covid-19 death rate: more than a quarter-million dead. The United States still holds the lead with half a million deaths – 1,600 per million compared to Brazil’s1,250 per million – but the US Covid death-rate is falling fast since President Biden took over, whereas Brazil’s is still rocketing up.

Because Brazil’s infection rate is so high, it is an ideal pressure-cooker for new and sometimes more dangerous versions of the coronavirus. It already has two named ‘variants’ of concern. The more recent and more worrisome one, P.1, probably emerged in Manaus, and is now rampant across the Brazilian Amazon.

P.1 is also starting to move out into the rest of the world. Six cases got off the same plane from Brazil in London recently, causing a nationwide scare until they were all tracked down. What makes it so frightening is that it spreads twice as fast as earlier Covid versions – and it seems able to reinfect people who have already had Covid once.

If it can do that, it can probably also get around the immunity conferred by existing vaccines. There is no evidence of ‘community spread’ of P.1 in other countries yet – that is, of infections passing between local people who have not travelled abroad – but it is only a matter of time unless people stop travelling to and from Brazil.

And what does Jair Bolsonaro say? As Brazil recorded its highest-ever Covid death toll last Thursday, he said: “Stop whining. How long are you going to keep crying about it? How much longer will you stay at home and close everything? No one can stand it anymore. We regret the deaths, but we need a solution.”

And his ‘solution’ is to man up, accept half a million or even a million deaths – and

to impose that solution on everybody else in the world too, because he’s certainly not going to shut foreign travel down.

Bolsonaro cannot be reasoned with, and Brazilians cannot really be expected to remove him. Like the sane American majority under Trump, they’d rather endure the madman’s blunders and crimes until the end of his term than use force against him and wreck the constitution. But if P.1 spreads, that could mean that everybody else in the world gets lockdowns until the end of the year at least.

Nobody is going to invade Brazil to remove Bolsonaro, although he does pose a big, very real threat. But what everybody else can do is quarantine Brazil. No national or international law stops other countries from banning flights coming out of Brazil from landing on their territory. So do it. Now. No exceptions.

Happily, there are very few heavily travelled road routes out of Brazil, and the country’s neighbours have every incentive to shut them down. Maritime trade could continue, so long as every ship leaving Brazil spends at least two weeks at sea before calling at another port (or longer, if any crew develop Covid symptoms).

Even air cargo could be allowed, especially if state governors can buy some vaccines abroad, so long as no passengers are allowed and air crew are strictly quarantined at both ends of the flight. Nobody wants to punish Brazilians, who are suffering so much under Bolsonaro already. We just don’t want him to kill our parents too.

How long should the quarantine last? At least until we understand the real threat from P.1 and other emergent Brazilian variants, have developed vaccines that work against them, and have had time to inoculate our own populations elsewhere. So at least until the end of the year, but considerably longer if the Brazilians don’t get their own infection rate under control.

There is a legitimate debate starting to surface about whether we should try to eradicate this coronavirus entirely (like SARS and MERS) or just aim for long-term ‘containment’ (like the ‘flu). This is not about that. It is about avoiding a deadly escalation in the danger. The world can do this quite easily, if it chooses, and Bolsonaro doesn’t get a vote.

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I read the Portugal News since I own a house there. Stop assuming your audience is just a bunch of brainwashed liberal buffoons like the author here. Get rid of them and their worthless drivel please!

By Mark Sorensen from USA on 13-03-2021 08:23

Finally, somebody wrote what I keep saying to everybody I see.
As a Brazilian patriot, all that I want is to see that MONSTER (Bolsonaro) arrested and people getting vaccinated. I live in the UK with my husband but my whole family lives in Brazil and the situation there is hideous (exactly like Gwynne Dyer brilliantly reported - you deserve a Pulitzer Prize).
Please, spread these words because Brazil is in a maniac psychopath's hands and the people can do nothing, he will only start acting decently (I wish) if the world retaliates.
I am BEGGING you to do this.

By Litza from UK on 10-03-2021 11:11

Rudi loves his mask! So does everyone else.

By rod from USA on 10-03-2021 02:28

an article written by a total MORON!

By rod from USA on 10-03-2021 02:27

“But what everybody else can do is quarantine Brazil.”- Gwynne Dyer
If this isn’t considered a blatant in your face racist rant I don’t know what it is.
Who gives a journalist (a poor one at that) the moral authority to write such discriminatory remarks from self opinions with no basis on facts.
This opinion piece could easily be the downfall of this online news site itself.

By Nathan from UK on 10-03-2021 01:31

Oh dear. Last week this fellah was slagging down the English speaking world, this week it's the poor old Brazilians. Last week I managed about a third of his article, this week a few lines, more than enough. As a matter of interest, you don't pay this man, do you?

By Mike Towl from Algarve on 10-03-2021 11:10

Great article. Needed to be said. Well done to Portugal News for publishing.

By Ed from Algarve on 10-03-2021 11:09

The article must be a joke.
An insult not only to all Brazilians but to all good people of the world
This journalist should be fired for being so ignorant and self indulgent in pushing groundless disinformation to this website’s readers.
Surely Portugal News should know better !
EBS forthcoming to wake up all sheep such as this journalist.

By Tiago S. from Lisbon on 09-03-2021 08:07

Mind ur business, portugueses. You can't barely deal with the situation, 1 year with lockdowns, 60% unemployment, feeding ppl with fear, the Government spent the people money in COVID propaganda on streets, blaming people, aterrozing them. Brazil just annoys the world cause we are against the globalists and i won't take ur bull****!

By J from Other on 09-03-2021 03:41

You know what they say about "opinions", but some, like this one are considerably more flatulant than others.

By Nick from Lisbon on 09-03-2021 02:10

I read The Portugal News to get learn the state of things in Portugal. I've always considered it an accurate and objective presenter of news and facts.

Unfortunately, this incoherent screech does a disservice to this fine website. Further, though it's presented under the "Opinion" banner, it asserts "facts" that are anything but.

By John from UK on 09-03-2021 01:24

So, everyone is supposed to take an experimental vaccine without known long-term adverse effects. It is very quiet in the media about adverse effects and deaths associated with the vaccination.
Understand that these vaccines are not approved in the usual order, they are authorised as "emergency use only". If you take the jab, you are participating in the experiment, their words, not mine. The vaccination companies require disclaimer from ALL possible injuries before they approve the sale. The taxpayers will have to pay.
Pfizer is bullying Brazilian government by demanding indemnity against potential civil claims relating to the vaccine. President Bolsonaro was one of few leaders in the world who refused Pfizer´s demands.
Can you imagine any other product you would buy under such circumstances, from companies that previously knowingly sold life-threatening and carcinogenic products?
Gwynne seems to be one of many newly born, confident amateur epidemiologists and virologist novices who can clearly analyse the situation, although there is no indication of any positive effect of restrictions. She can pinpoint which countries have taken the right or wrong measures, too many or too few masks, distance and mitigation. Those who have too much or too little freedom. This is despite the fact, that she probably has no idea how different the diagnostic PCR-test is used, the difference in how countries count the number of deaths, the use of prophylaxis and early treatment, the self-confident ignorance is abysmal. Dunning and Kruger have described this phenomenon well.
Many are worried about increasingly totalitarian governments and others seem to embrace and encourage a future police state. Gwynne Dyer is dreaming dictatorial dreams.

By Nils from Algarve on 09-03-2021 12:46

There are only two sides to the COVID-19 debate:
1) People who want the government to forcibly take away your personal autonomy
2) People who believe it is up to citizens to decide how they manage risk

You either believe in individual rights or you do not.


By Tommaso from Lisbon on 09-03-2021 09:50

G. Dyer must be the Editor of this paper because no one else would print this dribble.

By Stephen Walker from Alentejo on 09-03-2021 07:33

I'm afraid these are the facts (indepent of HOW this is written here). So someone like this brazilian trump copy and his supporters is now threatening all of us.

By Rudi from Other on 09-03-2021 06:48

As a journalist how dare you claim a country should vaccinate its whole population ?
This is the kind of arrogant, irresponsible journalism the world should rid of.
So much hate, so little thought.
Yes, a teenage tantrum rant is all it is.

By Paul Sutton from Algarve on 09-03-2021 06:04

Discriminatory to say the least. How on earth did an article written with so much opinionated onesidedness get off the writers desk.
This is the stuff that creates a divide amongst us to encouraging one to pick sides so that you’re either with us or you’re not.
Terrible journalism. Beyond shocking.

By Ann H. from Lisbon on 09-03-2021 05:55

First of all don't equate Trump and Bolsonaro as the same. If it weren't for Trump we wouldn't have a vaccine developed in such a short time despite all the "scientific pundants" who said it couldn't be done. Second, Biden has done nothing to bring the infection rate down other than to order a mask mandate on federal properties. The Trump administration not only got the vaccine developed but also the means to get it distributed yet Biden is taking all the credit. If Bolsonaro is the problem so be it, but leave out your left wing BS by lumping Trump into the mix.

By Tony B from USA on 08-03-2021 08:41

Sweden is now one of the places in the world that fights against the new Nazism that Covid 19 represents, it is sickening that a seasonal flu that is not at all dangerous has been used by evil forces, Rödskrikan in Sweden's Riksdag which is a member of the Bilderberg group wants to shut down business, Tegnell and Giesecke are fighting the lunatics.

A pastor 80 years old and his wife got Wuhan the flu and were healthy after a few days, I hope that more people join For Freedom Sweden and take the fight against what is going on, it is something very sick to put masks on people, healthy people get sick from seeing masks everywhere and mold and bacteria thrive inside the masks, in the US now burn mask events are organized where the masks burn in the bins!

By Magnus from Other on 08-03-2021 07:05

There is no more or less deaths by Wuhan China flu than any of the season flu, nobody have died by this flu, it is elderly persons living in long term facilities with many other health issues who can die when they get even a smaller cold.

Drink orange juice, relax, get fresh air, participate in anti lock down rallys and buy a Trump hat and most important stop watching the brainwashing fake news channels this is the best cure for all type of Chinese flu viruses, especially the type that was made in a lab.

By Magnus from Other on 08-03-2021 06:46

God Save President Bolsonaro, defender of freedom!

By Magnus from Other on 08-03-2021 06:36

I thought the Brazilians couldn’t pick anyone worse than the bank robber and American killer Dilma but I was wrong. The country never ceases to amaze me. Hopefully someday they will vote for a boring economist who will put in University of Chicago, Friedman style polices and the country can rightfully take its place as the Jewel of South America.

By william hansen from Lisbon on 08-03-2021 05:09

Bolsonaro and Trump, two peas from the same rotten pod!

By Greg from Other on 08-03-2021 04:58

Great summary - Portugal will need to either choose to stay connected to either Brazil or the rest of Europe until at least 2022. I hope it is the latter

By David S from Algarve on 08-03-2021 04:16

This sounds like it was written by a teenager having a temper tantrum. What an embarrassing thing to actually post on this site. Could not be more idiotic

By Latoysha Adams from USA on 08-03-2021 03:12
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