March 5, 2021
1. Health crisis worsens and number of daily deaths hits record high
Over the past few days, the number of people infected with COVID-19 grew in Brazil. The alarming data follows the increasing number of deaths due to the virus. By Wednesday (4) evening, the country had registered 10,795,506 cases of coronavirus and 261,188 deaths since the pandemic began.
According to the press, the moving average for cases in the past seven days was 57,517 new diagnoses a day. This represents a 27% increase in the number of cases registered in the past two weeks. According to data from state health secretariats, out of the 26 states and the federal district, 16 have registered an increase in the number of cases, 8 are stable and only 2 have registered a drop.
2. Administration presents new schedule for vaccine purchase
On Thursday, in a meeting with senators and the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), representatives of the Ministry of Health presented details concerning the schedule for vaccine purchases as part of the national COVID-19 immunization program.
The National Plan for Vaccine Operationalization assesses that at least 104.2 million doses are necessary to vaccinate priority groups in Brazil. The document reveals that 279.9 million doses of the vaccines have been purchased and delivered and 140 million doses have been acquired but are not yet available. By the end of 2021, the government plans to receive approximately 600 million doses (which includes doses already purchased and doses still under negotiation) of seven vaccines: Oxford/AstraZeneca, CoronaVac, Sputnik V, Pfizer, Moderna, J&J and Bharat Biontech.
3. Chamber of Deputies allows companies to buy vaccines. Bill is pending presidential approval
On Tuesday (02), the Chamber of Deputies approved Bill 534/2021, which allows states, municipalities and private companies to purchase vaccines. According to the bill, the vaccines can be bought as long as they are registered by the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) or approved for emergency use.
In the case of the private sector, doses must be donated to the Brazilian Public Health System (SUS) while the vaccination for priority groups – as defined by the Ministry of Health – is ongoing. After this stage, private companies can keep half of the vaccines they purchase. The other half will have to be donated to the public health system. The bill is now pending President Jair Bolsonaro’s approval.
Folha de S. Paulo: Projeto que autoriza compra de vacinas por empresas privadas é aprovado e vai à sanção
Câmara dos Deputados: Câmara aprova projeto que autoriza estados, municípios e setor privado a comprar vacinas
4. Brazilian GDP dropped 4.1% in 2020
The Brazilian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dropped 4.1% in 2020, according to data published by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statics on Tuesday (2). The recession in the Brazilian economy is a result of the pandemic that began in March 2020. It is a historic recession, even though there some signs of recovery registered in the last quarter of 2020.
The drop in the Brazilian GDP is part of a global recession. According to the press, out of 56 countries, Brazil had the 31st worst economic performance. In Latin America, the country is ahead of Colombia (6.8% drop) and Mexico (8.5% drop).
5. Federal government reduces taxes on diesel to zero and increases taxes for banks
On Monday (2) the federal government published a decree reducing the PIS/COFINS rate on diesel and cooking gas to zero. This came after President Jair Bolsonaro promised to lower the price of fuel to reduce operational costs for truckers. The new rate is effective immediately.
To compensate for the loss in tax collection, the administration also published a Provisional Measure to increase the rate of the Social Contribution on Net Profit (CSSL) for financial institutions. Rules for tax collection on Industrialized Products (IPI) have also changed for people with disabilities who are buying vehicles. The fiscal incentive for the petrochemical industry, known as the Special Regime for the Chemical Industry (REIQ) was terminated.