The COVID-19 crisis has spawned a major political earthquake. Will Brazil slow the global recovery?(2)
The worsening of the Brazilian epidemic is a serious threat to the world, especially Latin America. To date, Bolsonaro has not taken any action to tighten epidemic prevention measures, and most of the gathering restrictions in Brazil are issued by the state government. If Brazil continues to allow the mutated strain to spread, it will be difficult to guarantee that the strain will not spread beyond its borders and offset global efforts to control the epidemic.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said last week that the mutant strain P.1 has been detected in 15 American countries, and many neighboring countries in Brazil have taken strict measures to reduce contact with them. In the America’s Cup basketball game held last month, the host Colombia refused to let the Brazilian team participate; Venezuelan President Maduro accused Brazil of being “the biggest threat to the global epidemic”; and Bolivian officials called for the border to be closed.
However, Brazil, as the largest economy in Latin America, maintains close ties with many countries in terms of trade and labor. PAHO believes that a complete border closure is not the best solution. More importantly, Brazil can control the epidemic as soon as possible to prevent its spread.
The longer the virus spreads in a certain area, the greater the possibility of mutation. Especially in communities with increasing immunity, if the epidemic is completely out of control, more dangerous mutant strains are likely to appear. Scientists said that it is not accidental that one of the most virulent mutant strains, P.1, appeared in Manaus. Brazil has become a hotbed of virus variants. It is not ruled out that there will be more contagious mutant strains that can escape immune protection.
As the only weapon against the virus, Brazil's vaccination progress is relatively lagging behind. According to statistics from Bloomberg News, less than 8% of people in Brazil have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The Brazilian government provides very limited vaccines, and states can only purchase their own vaccines. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states have both purchased the Chinese Coxing vaccine, and some states have purchased the Russian satellite 5 vaccine.
The Brazilian Ministry of Health rejected a contract with Pfizer for 70 million doses of vaccine last year because Pfizer requested a legal exemption. This clause is included in vaccine purchase agreements between Pfizer and other countries.
This month, the Brazilian government has reached a settlement with Pfizer, signed a 100 million doses of vaccines to be delivered before September, and also purchased 38 million doses of vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, which will be delivered within this year. The new Minister of Health Kerooga told lawmakers on the 29th that he will meet with the US ambassador to obtain an early supply of 20 million doses of vaccine.