March 27, 2020


1. Bolsonaro is defied by governors and institutions

President Jair Bolsonaro faced criticism over the debate about whether to stay at home or not during the coronavirus pandemic. During an address to the nation, Bolsonaro said that he was opposed to people isolating themselves completely. He advocated for stores and schools to reopen and return to normal, so that the cure for the disease does not kill the country with a never-before-seen economic crisis. The president’s speech was criticized by governors, who said they will not change their isolation strategies, arguing that the president was making a mistake and going against what the entire world had been doing. Health, science and press institutions viewed Bolsonaro’s speech as “a discouse of death,” adding it was “irresponsible.” The Minister of Health tried to explain the President’s claims by saying he was simply expressing his concern for the economy. The vice president, on the other hand, said that the federal government’s position was to promote social isolation in order to contain the disease. Yesterday, the state government of Santa Catarina authorized shops to reopen and other industries to resume normal activities from April 1st. However, public transport in the state will remain closed and vehicles from other states and countries will continue to be barred from entering.

Valor Econômico: Presidente critica governadores e pede ‘volta à normalidade’
Governo Federal: Assista à íntegra do pronunciamento do presidente
Folha de S.Paulo: Bolsonaro é ignorado por governadores
UOL: Veja discussão entre governador de SP e o presidente
Folha de S.Paulo: O que o presidente já disse sobre coronavírus
Folha de S.Paulo: Veja notícias sobre a pandemia em tempo real

2. Length of quarantine is a debate among business leaders in the country

The length of the quarantine period and how many people should be under isolation is a matter of debate among Brazilian business leaders. President Jair Bolsonaro argued for a “vertical” approach to isolation, in which people who are over 60 years old, young people with flu symptoms and those with chronic diseases should stay at home. Heads of large companies believe that if the administration’s actions in the fight against the virus are miscalculated, people could stay in isolation for longer, which could result in further harm to the economy. Restrictions on the movement of people and the closing of shops at the state level have already affected industries and will affect the economic growth of the country, which will face a recession this year. On the other hand, some business people argue that protecting the health of the public should be the highest priority. They believe that the federal government must coordinate economic, social and healthcare strategies with Congress, states and cities. For now, the economy team is already working on the possibility of getting things back to normal by April 7th.

Folha de S.Paulo: Tempo de quarentena e saúde dividem empresários
O Globo: Empresários discutem tempo certo para retomar atividades
Valor Econômico: Empresária pede calma e previsibilidade
O Estado de S. Paulo: Governo prevê retorno gradual de atividades no dia 7
Valor Econômico: Para área econômica, isolamento total é temerário

3. Chamber of Deputies approves R$ 600 emergency basic income

Last night, deputies approved economic aid of R$ 600 (USD $118.47) for informal workers and people with disabilities awaiting Social Security benefits. The measured will be signed into law by President Jair Bolsonaro. Members of Congress were pressuring the administration to increase the R$ 200 the federal government suggested to R$ 500 before learning that the president was willing to approve R$ 600 in aid. Now that the bill has been approved in the Chamber, it will be sent to the Senate. The aid will initially be paid for three months, but this could be extended for as long as the state of emergency lasts. Women who provide for their families can receive up to R$ 1,200 (USD $236.85) in aid. The benefit will cost the federal government at least R$ 60 million (USD $11.8 million). To be entitled to the benefit, people need to have a monthly income of up to half the minimum wage (R$ 552.50) or a monthly family income of up to three times the minimum wage (R$ 3,135).

O Estado de S. Paulo: Com aval de Bolsonaro, deputados aprovam benefício
O Estado de S. Paulo: Governo libera apenas 36% da ajuda prometida

4. Federal government approves the use of 17 rapid coronavirus tests

The Brazilian federal government has approved the registration and use of 17 new coronavirus tests in the country, The products are still not available to the public, being restricted to laboratories and hospitals. These rapid tests can identify antibodies of the disease in half an hour, but complementary tests must be made in order to confirm contamination. Other tests – already in use all over Brazil – use the PCR technique, making a genetic analysis of nasal mucus or saliva to identify the virus. PCR-based tests are more precise, but can take up to two days to return results. The Ministry of Health plans to use the rapid tests in mobile health centers to identify mild cases and ensure that quarantined health and security professionals can go back to work.

Folha de S.Paulo: Governo aprova utilização de 17 testes rápidos
O Estado de S. Paulo: O que se sabe sobre a doença
Ministério da Saúde: Acompanhe boletins informativos do governo
OMS: Veja relatório global da OMS
G1: Assista a vídeos de orientação sobre o coronavírus

5. According to experts, home offices can be more productive

People working from home might have experienced one of two very different situations: you either work twice as much as you used to or you face constant distractions. “It is an unusual situation, that usually requires companies to provide longer training,” says André Brik, a consultant at Instituto Trabalho Portátil specialized in remote work. Career coach André Bax explains that a more productive home office requires a workplace at home – which can be a bedroom or the living room – and a well-defined schedule. Dressing accordingly, following a routine and taking breaks are also key, as is setting limits. “If you set yourself expectations and stick to them – such as stopping work at 5pm – others will understand your limits and will not assume that you are available,” writes Carolyn O’Hara in an article published in the Harvard Business Review. Once the home office plan is set, the next step is to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. There are many classes and tips available for you to maintain physical activities even during quarantine.

Folha de S.Paulo: Veja como se adaptar melhor ao trabalho em casa
G1: Especialista fala sobre como manter produtividade
O Estado de S. Paulo: Veja opções para malhar em casa
Exame: 5 dicas práticas para manter o foco no home office