Brazil closes border to Venezuelans after mass crossings: official

Brazil closes border to Venezuelans after mass crossings: official
In this file photo taken on May 3, 2018 Venezuelan refugees queue outside the UNHCR's Jardim Floresta Camp, in Boa Vista, Roraima State, north of Brazil. (AFP)
Updated 07 August 2018

Brazil closes border to Venezuelans after mass crossings: official

Brazil closes border to Venezuelans after mass crossings: official
  • An estimated 500 Venezuelans cross the land border into Brazil each day

SAO PAULO: Brazil closed its northern border to Venezuelans on Monday to slow mass migration from the South American country saddled with a crippling political and economic crisis, police said.
The measure follows a federal judge’s decision on Sunday that puts a stop to the entry of more Venezuelans until a greater number of immigrants from the economically beset South American nation are transferred elsewhere in Brazil.
The border remains open to Brazilians and other nationalities, as well as to Venezuelans seeking to return to their home country, officials said.
It’s a main crossing point for tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants, an influx that has increased dramatically over the past two years.
While the suspension is indefinite, the Brazilian administration is seeking to overturn or halt the ruling.
President Michel Temer is opposed in a “non-negotiable” way to the border closure, Human Rights Minister Gustavo Rocha was quoted as saying by state-run Agencia Brasil.
Roraima state’s capital Boa Vista has hosted the largest number of Venezuelan immigrants in the country — around 25,000 out of a total of 330,000 city dwellers.
An estimated 500 Venezuelans cross the land border into Brazil each day.
Roraima Governor Suely Campos applauded the federal judge’s ruling.
“We have been asking the federal Supreme Court since May to close the border, as well as for financial assistance to minimize the impact on our public services,” Campos said in a statement.


UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly

UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly
Updated 23 January 2021

UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly

UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly
  • PM Boris Johnson had previously said evidence showed higher mortality rate 
  • Top medics have said it is “too early” to say whether the variant carries with it a higher mortality rate

LONDON: The discovery of a new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant in the UK should not alter the response to the pandemic, scientists say, despite fears that it could prove more deadly.
Top medics have said it is “too early” to say whether the variant, thought to be up to 70 percent more transmissible, carries with it a higher mortality rate.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed there was “some evidence” the variant had “a higher degree of mortality” at a press conference on Friday, Jan. 22, with the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, adding it could be up to 30 percent more deadly. 
That came after a briefing by the UK government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) said there was a “realistic possibility” of an increased risk of death.
Prof. Peter Horby, Nervtag’s chairman, said: “Scientists are looking at the possibility that there is increased severity ... and after a week of looking at the data we came to the conclusion that it was a realistic possibility.
“We need to be transparent about that. If we were not telling people about this we would be accused of covering it up.”
But infectious disease modeller Prof. Graham Medley, one of the authors of the Nervtag briefing, told the BBC: “The question about whether it is more dangerous in terms of mortality I think is still open.
He added: “In terms of making the situation worse it is not a game changer. It is a very bad thing that is slightly worse.”
Dr. Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling for the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said he was “quite surprised” Johnson had made the claim.
“I just worry that where we report things pre-emptively where the data are not really particularly strong,” he added.