January 7th, 2022
1. Brazilian minimum wage readjusted to R$ 1,212
The new Brazilian minimum wage has come into effect. It is now R$ 1,212, a 10.18% increase in comparison to the R$ 1,100 minimum wage of 2021. Even though the wage has grown, the new amount only covers inflation in 2021 and does not represent a true increase. This is the third year in a row that there’s hasn’t been a real increase.
The new amount is higher than the R$ 1,169 that was predicted in August. However, according to the Constitution, the government must increase the minimum wage to at least match accumulated inflation rates for the previous year to maintain purchasing power.
The 10.18% increase was the largest since 2016, when the minimum wage increased 11.6% in comparison to 2015. Since then, increases haven’t been higher than 7%. In 2018, the increase was only 1.81%.
With the minimum wage increase, the tax exemption of PIS/PASEP is between R$ 101 and R$ 1,212, depending on the number of months worked.
2. Bolsonaro’s 2021 social media perception was negative
The perception of Bolsonaro’s actions on social media in 2021 were generally negative according to an analysis in “Risco Político 2021” by JOTA’s chief analyst Fábio Zambeli. The book concludes that the perception follows the problems Bolsonaro had with other branches of government and the public’s opinions of Paulo Guedes’ economic agenda.
Even though the September 7th pro-government rallies called for by the administration generated high levels of engagement among supporters, the organic engagement on social media was negative. This perception got increasingly worse after the COVID CPI, which revealed possible bribery during vaccine purchases. Rulings in favor of Senator Flávio Bolsonaro in the Superior Court of Justice and in the Federal Supreme Court on the issue of “rachadinhas” – in which the senator requested his employees return a portion of their salaries – also worsened public perception.
3. Bolsonaro hospitalized again but released a few days later
On January 3rd, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was hospitalized in São Paulo due to an intestinal obstruction. He had taken time off in recent weeks in Santa Catarina, where he was seen at the beach surrounded by supporters.
Bolsonaro has been hospitalized four times during his time in office due to intestinal obstructions, a consequence of being stabbed in 2018, during the presidential race.
One day after going to the hospital, surgeon Antônio Luiz Macedo, who treats the president, arrived in Vila Nova Star Hospital. He was on vacation in the Bahamas but interrupted his trip to attend to Bolsonaro.
After a medical evaluation, the need for surgery was discarded. According to the medical team, treating the obstruction with a catheter and change in diet was enough to fix the problem.
On Wednesday (5), Bolsonaro was released from the hospital, thanked his supporters, and criticized the political use of his picture in the hospital. “They want to talk about politics, say I’m playing the victim. They must be joking,” he said.
4. COVID and Influenza cases rise in Brazil; cities cancel Carnival
The holidays contributed to an increase in COVID-19 and Influenza cases in Brazil. There are even cases of double transmission, known as “flurona”.
According to a study, the number of COVID-19 cases increased significantly in the last few weeks. The moving average increased 95.3% – going from 4,300 cases on December 27th to 8,400 on Monday (01/03).
The first signs of an increase in transmissions were noted aboard cruise ships, where hundreds of cases were diagnosed in a week. CLIA Brasil (Cruise Lines International Association) has canceled cruises in Brazil until January 21st and are considering postponing them even further.
Evidence of the new COVID wave and the influenza epidemic have led many cities to cancel events related to Carnival, including Belo Horizonte (MG), Salvador (BA), Curitiba (PR), Campo Grande (MT), Olinda (PE), Fortaleza (CE), Rio de Janeiro (RJ), and São Paulo (SP).
Correio Brasiliense: Covid-19: Média móvel de casos no Brasil quase dobra em uma semana
G1: Companhias de cruzeiros suspendem operações no Brasil até 21 de janeiro, após surtos de Covid a bordo
Estadão: Ceará e SP têm casos de ‘flurona’; infecção dupla é registrada desde o início da pandemia, diz SP
O Globo: Carnaval 2022: capitais começam a cancelar desfiles e blocos de rua por causa da Covid-19
5. Ministry of Health approves COVID vaccination for children aged 5 to 11
Even after the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, the Ministry of Health decided to ask the public to vote on whether vaccines should be used. However, on Wednesday, the administration gave in and approved vaccines for children without requiring a prescription.
Parent or legal guardian authorization is recommendation but not required. Written authorization will only be required if the father, mother, or legal guardians is not present at the time of vaccination. Administration of the vaccines will take place according to age, from oldest to youngest, prioritizing children with comorbidities or a permanent disabilities.
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said he accelerated the purchase of 3.7 million pediatric doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which are expected to arrive in the second half of January. Another 16.3 million doses are expected to arrive in the country by the end of the first quarter of the year.