Brazilian city decrees lockdown amid resurgence of COVID-19 variant

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Demonstrators carry a giant syringe as they protest against Sao Paulo state governor Joao Doria and China's Sinovac potential coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in Sao Paulo, Brazil

The Brazilian city of Araraquara on Monday became the first in Sao Paulo state to decree a total lockdown after registering 12 locally-originated cases of the Amazon variant of COVID-19, the government reported.

The 15-day lockdown aims to prevent further transmission of the P1 variant detected in individuals who have not traveled to the Amazon area, Edinho Silva, the mayor, told reporters.

“The new mutations of the virus are more transmissible and are generating complications in more younger patients,” Silva said.

Araraquara, located northwest of the capital Sao Paulo, was already in the red phase of the pandemic and had restrictions in place.

Sao Paulo, the country’s most populated state, is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

The decision coincides with Carnival time, Brazil’s biggest annual festival, which was canceled to avoid large gatherings nationwide.

The decree bans non-essential activities and limits the movement of people through the city with checkpoints in place. Supermarkets can operate until 8:00 p.m. local time while all other authorized essential activities must close by 7:00 p.m. local time.

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