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Brazil Operation: COVID-19 Response, July 2020 [EN/PT]

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OPERATIONAL CONTEXT

As of 31 July, Brazil reached the mark of 2,666,298 confirmed cases and 92,568 deaths from COVID-19.

Borders remain closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including for individuals coming from Venezuela, with few irregular entries and exits reported. For individuals already in the country, the validity of documentation providing legal stay was extended until the end of the emergency.

As previously reported, following the declaration of the State of Emergency by the Federal Government, state Governors have adopted a series of measures to prevent the spread of the virus, and some cities had to enact total lockdown. However, throughout June and July several cities started a loosening process of gradual reopening, which caused a new increase of cases in several locations.

Many Venezuelan refugees and migrants are being severely affected by the current crisis and have lost their livelihoods, struggling to meet their most basic needs, including shelter and food, also encompassing the four thousand indigenous Venezuelans of different ethnicities (Warao, Eñepa and Pemón). Venezuelan refugees and migrants continue to have access to national healthcare services and economic relief measures as part of the COVID-19 response. However, as the COVID-19 crisis advances, the public health system capacity to respond to the needs of the population is further strained, affecting not only people infected with the coronavirus, but also persons in need of other health services.

In July, the Federal Government paid the fourth instalment of the monthly emergency economic relief of 600 BRL (USD 120) established in April for informal workers, regardless of their nationality, in order to alleviate the economic impact of the COVID-19 situation for up to three months. At the end of June, the Federal Government announced the grant´s extension for two more months, and now the viability and alternative terms to extend the grant until the end of the year is being analysed.

In order to assist possible confirmed COVID-19 cases, Operaçao Acolhida (OA) developed a contingency plan in partnership with UNHCR and other actors in Roraima and Amazonas, including the establishment of a field hospital in Boa Vista (Area of Protection and Care – APC), with the capacity to host up to 1,782 Venezuelans and host community members. Additional isolation facilities were also established in the city of Manaus.

Entry restrictions for foreign nationals have been extended until the end of August with the approval of joint Civil Cabinet, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Infrastructure and Ministry of Health Ordinance nº 1/2020. The measures remain the same as the ones contained in the previous ordinances, including restrictions related to the entrance of nationals from Venezuela by land or sea, regardless of their migratory status. The entrance by air is now allowed and foreign travelers will have to present a visa if required according to the Brazilian Migratory Law; the entrance by air is not allowed in the following States: Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraíba, Rondonia, Rio Grande do Sul e Tocantins; the failure to comply with the Ordinance (if the person enters by land or sea) can still lead to immediate deportation or repatriation and to the disqualification of an asylum claim.