June 26, 2020


1. Sanitation Law could lead to R$ 753 billion in investments 

After two years in Congress, the Senate approved the bill outlining the legal framework for basic sanitation in the country, which will allow more opportunity for investment – potentially up to R$ 753 billion (USD $138.23 billion) by 2033. The administration believes the change could generate nearly one million jobs over the next five years. The new rules also establish goals to make sanitation universal. The final text has to be approved by President Jair Bolsonaro before it comes into effect. The law determines that public companies will no longer be hired directly for sanitation services. Cities will promote a public tender that includes the private sector and the winner will have to fulfil the universalization goal for water supply and sewage by 2033. The private sector currently has very low participation in the service and only in 6% of Brazilian cities. Ten years ago, this rate was 3.89%. Studies show that nearly half the country does not have access to all sanitation services, this translates to over 104 million without access to a sewage system and 35 million Brazilians who do not receive treated water. The World Health Organization estimates that for every R$ 1 invested in the sector, the country saves R$ 4 that would be spent in the health system due to diseases.

O Globo: Marco do saneamento pode injetar R$ 753 bilhões na economia

O Estado de S. Paulo: Mudança atrai atenção de investidores

Valor Econômico: Investimento em saneamento pode quadruplicar

Folha de S.Paulo: Licitações no setor só devem começar em 2023 

2. Banks plan to allow employees to work from home permanently

Brazilian banks are planning to permanently allow their employees to work from home full- or part-time. Out of all the financial institutions, those who have not yet made the decision official are at least considering it. According to the companies, working from home has been more economic and productive. Banco do Brasil, for example, is considering allowing 10,000 out of its 32,000 employees currently working remotely due to the pandemic to continue working from home. The bank believes they will save R$ 180 million (USD $33.02 million) annually from reduced rent expenses alone. Other big banks are following suit. Itaú Unibanco currently has 53,000 employees working remotely. The company believes meetings have been more focused and work more productive, while the employees have more time to spend with their families. At Bradesco, internal studies reveal that the bank could keep 40% of its administrative workers at home. 

Valor Econômico: Bancos planejam manter home office após pandemia

3. Bolsonaro says he will extend emergency aid but with reduced amount

President Jair Bolsonaro said he will extend the length of the emergency aid offered to informal workers, people who are unemployed and people of low income. According to the President, the benefit – which consisted of just three instalments of R$ 600 (USD $110.05) – will be gradually reduced beginning the fourth instalment, going to R$ 500 (USD $91.71), then R$ 400 (USD $73.36) and finally to R$ 300 (USD $55.02). During a live stream on social media, Bolsonaro said that the exact amounts will be confirmed by his economic team. Due to the persistence of the pandemic in the country, the administration was under pressure to postpone the end of the aid. The three month extension will add R$ 100 billion (USD $18.34 billion) to public expenditure. The administration has so far used R$ 152 billion (USD $27.88 billion) to pay the first three installments of the aid. Yesterday, Chamber of Deputies President Rodrigo Maia said that if the administration insists on sending a proposal gradually decreasing the amount, there is a risk of members of congress changing the final value of the aid. “I continue to argue for two R$ 600 instalments as well as a quick discussion during these 60 days for a permanent basic income. The state needs to take this responsibility. (…) This is what is fair. We have approved the War Constitutional Amendment Proposal for that,” he said.

Folha de S.Paulo: Bolsonaro diz que vai prorrogar auxílio emergencial

O Estado de S. Paulo: Presidente estuda novas parcelas do auxílio

4. Ministry of Health promises to test 46 million Brazilians

The Ministry of Health has decided to carry out 46.5 million tests in order to detect the coronavirus in patients with mild symptoms. From now on, patients in the public health system who have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough or runny nose will be tested for the coronavirus. Smaller towns, in which the virus has been rapidly spreading, will be the focus of testing. This represents 22% of Brazilians. Half of the tests will be RT-PCR and the other half will be quick tests. The molecular test (RT-PCR) is recommended for people who have been showing symptoms for up to 8 days. The ministry expects to screen 24.5 million people with this test. The serology test, known as the quick test, provides information on whether the person has been in contact with the virus and has developed antibodies against it. It is recommended after the eighth day of symptoms and the ministry aims to test 22 million people with this method. According to the ministry, Central Public Health Laboratories – responsible for testing – have been receiving the necessary materials since last week.

O Globo: Ministério da Saúde vai testar 46 milhões de pessoas

Ministério da Saúde: Saúde para a testar casos leves de Covid-19

5. Most state capitals in Brazil see contagion increase

One in every five Brazilian cities have seen a rapid increase in coronavirus contagion. Decreasing contagion rates have only been observed in 3% of cities. When considering state capitals alone, 20 out of the 27 are witnessing an increase in cases following the easing of restrictions and the return of some activities. Only Recife, of all the state capitals, has seen a decrease in the contagion rate. The information comes from a University of São Paulo study, which takes into consideration the number of cases in the previous 30 days and divides them into initial, accelerated, stable, slowed down and controlled stages. On Wednesday, the administration admitted that the number of deaths due to the coronavirus continues to grow and that the country is not on a path to control the disease, unlike what was stated previously. According to the Ministry of Health, there was a significant increase in the number of cases this week. With a total of more than 55,000 deaths and 1.2 million people infected by the virus, Brazil is second only to the U.S. when it comes to total deaths from the disease. The United States has registered over 122,000 deaths and 2.3 million people confirmed to have contracted the virus so far. 

Folha de S.Paulo: 20% das cidades brasileiras tem aceleração do Covid-19

Folha de S.Paulo: SP ultrapassa Itália em números absolutos

G1: Hospitais reclamam de escassez de medicamentos

O Globo: Acompanhe notícias sobre a pandemia

IRRD Covid-19: Veja o mapeamento de casos no Brasil e no mundo