The coronavirus is spreading at a galloping in Brazil, with the containment measures and déconfinement in a scattered order according to the States or the cities of this country including the president Jair Bolsonaro calls for the lifting of the restrictions.
No policy has been put in place at national level and the measures of containment of the pandemic in general have been much less stringent than those that have been taken in most european countries or in neighboring Argentina.
However, the first restrictions appeared as early as mid-march in Brazil, including the closure of schools in many cities, while the country had only about a hundred confirmed cases, and a few days before the first death.
But today, this country of 210 million inhabitants of continental dimensions is one of the main foci of the pandemic, and was about to pass the age of 30, 000 dead.
The 27 member States took measures more or less stringent, each in his own way, at dates and for different periods of time. Most have decided to keep open the shops considered essential: pharmacies and supermarkets.
And apart from a few exceptions, no enforcement action has been taken to ensure that the population remains in it.
The same confusion in regard to the déconfinement, which began gradually in some States, but not all, so that the country has not yet reached the peak of the pandemic.
The rate of social isolation, has never reached the 70% recommended by the world Health Organization (WHO).
“Measures poorly designed”
In Sao Paulo, the richest, the most populous and also the main focus of contamination, most industries have continued to operate and the slogan “Stay at home” remained a mere recommendation. Re-phased to the shops is expected as early as this Monday.
In Rio de Janeiro, the police merely approach the bathers who brave the prohibition of going to the beaches, and the walks along the beach, still full of walkers, joggers and cyclists. The mask-wearing has been made mandatory there was more than a month, two weeks before Sao Paulo.
Only some of the neighborhoods most affected to the west of the city have been cordoned off, some lanes of traffic blocked, a measure also in force in Niteroi and São Gonçalo, two suburban cities.
In the poor regions of the North-east, to cities such as Fortaleza and Sao Luis has also restricted the movement of people and vehicles.
In areas least affected, such as in the south of Brazil, or in the capital Brasilia, the shopping centres have already resumed their activities.
“As a general rule, the containment measures have been poorly designed. The people had the right to move freely”, explains Jean Gorinchteyn, infectiologist of the Institute Emilio Ribas and from hospital Albert Einstein of Sao Paulo.
“And even in the cities that have taken more stringent measures, the police has not really prevented people from leaving,” he continued.
Lack of consensus
In Brazil, the management of public health issues is shared between the federal government, 27 States and the 5 500 municipalities.
In April, the supreme Court decided that the decision of States and cities in terms of containment should take precedence over any directive of the federal government.
This has enabled the communities to withstand the repeated calls by the president Bolsonaro to the resumption of economic activities, to preserve employment.
“This shared management of public health is already a challenge in itself, but everything would be more simple with a minimum of political consensus, for coordinated action,” said Michael Mohallem, professor of law of the Getulio Vargas Foundation.
“Brazil has become the main focus of Covid-19 in the world, but the situation is worsened by a major political crisis,” he continued.
This crisis has been exacerbated by the repeated criticisms of Bolsonaro against the governors. It was notably the treaty of a “pile of manure” the one in Rio, Wilson Witzel, whose official residence was raided on Tuesday because of suspicions of misappropriation of funds in the hospital construction campaign.
“With this dichotomy and the confusion of information, people feel disoriented and often end up choosing the easy way out of their homes,” concludes Jean Gorinchteyn.