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Traveling to Brazil during Covid-19: what you need to know before you go

Editor’s note – Coronavirus cases are streaming around the world. Health officials warn that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you are fully immunized. Below is information on what to know if you’re still planning to travel, last updated on August 31.

(CNN) – If you are planning a trip to Brazil, here is what you need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The basics

Brazil has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. It has the second highest death toll in the world, just behind the United States.

The Brazilian government has done little to limit the spread nationwide. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has criticized the use of masks and lambasted governors who adopt regional lockdown measures.

The Gamma Covid-19 variant has spread rapidly across Brazil and then around the world, and it is believed to be more contagious.

Brazil’s hospitals are in trouble. Intubation, medication and oxygen have been repeatedly low at times during the pandemic.

What’s on offer

It’s a bucket list destination – a country that really has it all. On the beach side, Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the capital Brasilia is a whirlwind of modernist architecture and Salvador is the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture. There are some of the best beaches on the planet, plus, of course, the main part of the Amazon rainforest – which visitors can help protect, by contributing to the conservation economy.

Who can go

Almost everybody. The Brazilian government has been notoriously relaxed about the pandemic – and that includes border control. After a brief closure in 2020, the borders are now open, including to almost all tourists, for stays of up to 90 days.

British visitors are out of luck – Brazil has banned flights to and from the UK since news of the Alpha variant of Covid-19 first detected in England – and no one who has been in the UK in the last 14 days can only go, other than residents, family members of Brazilian nationals and some business trips.

Brazil has also banned flights to or through India and South Africa.

Entry requirements

In case of flight, before boarding, all arrivals must present a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours, and a traveler’s health declaration form to their airline before boarding (the airline will distribute the form) . Children under two are exempt.

Land and sea borders are closed to non-residents, except on the way home. In this case, travelers must obtain prior authorization, present a note from their own embassy or consulate authorizing their crossing at the border, present the plane ticket and proceed directly to the airport.

The majority of arrivals do not need to be quarantined, but if you are traveling from the UK under the exceptions listed above, you must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Brazil.

US CDC Travel Advisory:

Level 4: Very high. The CDC advises avoiding travel to Brazil. If you have to travel to this destination, he advises you to make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.

Useful links

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CNN’s Julia Buckley and Francesca Street