Brazil’s Biggest State to Begin Quarantine to Slow Virus

Felipe Marques

(Bloomberg) --

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 cases, the most in the nation, and 15 deaths so far. Brazil as a whole had 1,128 confirmed cases on Saturday, up from 904 Friday, according to Brazil’s health ministry.

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro criticized states governors from Sao Paulo, Rio, Bahia, Piaui e Federal District, who are taking measures limit circulation of people and closing stores, in a interview with CNN Brasil late Saturday.

Bolsonaro called Doria “a lunatic” and said the Rio de Janeiro’s governor, Wilson Witzel, “is taking advantage to grow politically.” Sao Paulo governor reply via Twitter urging Bolsonaro to do his job. “Do your part, Brazil’s governors are doing theirs”, he wrote.

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.

(Updates with comments from Brazil’s president)

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