Brazil’s Biggest State Is Set to Begin Quarantine to Slow Virus

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Brazil’s biggest state will begin a 15-day quarantine on Tuesday, with all non-essential stores closing, to slow the rise of Covid-19 cases in Latin America’s biggest nation.

Sao Paulo’s state governor Joao Doria announced the quarantine on Saturday, effective March 24. Sao Paulo will become first area of the nation to essentially shut down to help fight the spread of the virus.

The state of Sao Paulo has 459 confirmed coronavirus cases, the most in the nation, and 15 deaths so far. Brazil as a whole had 1,128 confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, up from 904 Friday, according to Brazil’s health ministry data.

Latin America Isn’t Ready for the Virus Onslaught Headed Its Way

In Sao Paulo, all but non-essential businesses and services, including bars and restaurants, will remain closed, according to Doria. Sao Paulo accounts for about 30% of Brazil’s economy. It’s also home to the nation’s financial hub.

Doria’s actions contrast to what the nation’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been saying about the virus outbreak.

In a TV interview aired Friday, Bolsonaro said some state authorities had been taking “absurd measures” to fight the virus, like closing down shopping malls and churches. On a live transmission on Saturday, he promised to speed up the production of drugs that allegedly help fight the virus using army laboratories.

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