Rio de Janeiro Closes Beaches, Denies Tourist Entry

A municipal decree released on Friday has directed the iconic beaches of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to be closed for a week, as local government authorities attempt to slow down the spread of coronavirus in the city.

In a statement, the Municipal Health Secretariat said that 95 percent of the public and private hospitals’ intensive care unit beds had been occupied by patients over the previous week in one of the most populous cities of Brazil.

“Either we become aware of what’s happening or we’re going to have a situation that’s out of control in the coming days. It’s a tough measure and we understand the economic difficulties involved,” Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes said in a press release.

Authorities would be blocking the entrance to tourist spots and their famous beaches through Monday. Sports, sunbathing and swimming are also forbidden by the local government.

“Emergency responses to the COVID-19 crisis in Brazil have included restrictions on entry of foreign nationals, whether by air or over land borders. We very strongly advise against any further travel into Brazil or the wider South American, Latin American and Caribbean region until the COVID-19 crisis has been contained and travel restrictions are lifted,” the Brazilian Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

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