It's impossible to avoid, so let's talk about how coronavirus is affecting us in Brazil. Firstly, we live in a city with just under 300,000 people and the nearest city is an hour away. We are in a fairly remote area and certainly do not have the amount of international travelers that they have in Rio, São Paulo, or Brasilia.
As of 21 March 2020, there are only 29 confirmed cases in my state (remember, our state is the size of France). 18 of those cases are in Belo Horizonte (5-7 hours from us), which is also home to the only international airport in our state. There are 2,140 suspected cases overall. My city, Governador Valadares, has 44 suspected cases, 7 dismissed cases, and 0 confirmed cases.
In an effort to keep our cases at 0, the mayor declared quarantine actions will begin on Monday, the 23rd. Some of those actions include:
- The closing of all trade / buying / selling with the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies, bakeries, butchers, and gas stations. Health clinics and vets may also remain open.
- Home delivery of products is allowable, but only if the business has adequate logistics and follows health measures established by the health authorities.
- Wholesalers are allowed to sell products directly to retail food businesses.
- All bars, restaurants, cafeterias, food trucks, and street venders must close.
- Salons, beauty clinics, barber shops, gyms, the movie theater, the library, and community centers must close.
- Any activities carried out in public places that involve people gathering (including sports and cultural events) are suspended.
- Face-to-face service in banks and the post office is prohibited, but self-service rooms (where the ATMs are located) are allowed.
- Factories and industrial companies are allowed to stay open, but cannot serve the public and must adopt the established health measures.
The city will be monitoring compliance with these rules and if the rules are violated, penalties include sanctions, revocation of permits, and/or fines. ALSO, there is a penalty of imprisonment between one month to one year. (They aren't fucking around).
This does affect our immigration back to the US. Farley is unable to renew his passport because the issuing service (Policia Federal) is closed indefinitely, as are the consulates. But overall, the feeling here is pretty calm. I feel very removed from the crisis and I'm hopeful that the world-wide quarantine and health measures will "flatten the curve" and that progress with vaccines will happen more quickly than expected.