Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you're fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on August 31.
(CNN) — If you're planning a trip to Brazil, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.
Brazil has been one of the hardest hit countries by the pandemic. It holds the second highest death toll in the world, second only to the United States.
The Brazilian government has done little to limit the spread nationally. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has criticized the use of masks and lambasted governors who adopt regional lockdown measures.
The Gamma Covid-19 variant spread rapidly across Brazil and then around the globe, and is thought to be more contagious.
Hospitals in Brazil have been struggling. Intubation, medication and oxygen have repeatedly run low at points during the pandemic.
What's on offer
This is a bucket list destination -- a country that really does have everything. Beachside Rio de Janeiro is one of the world's most beautiful cities, capital Brasilia is a whirl of modernist architecture, and Salvador is the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture. There are some of the best beaches on the planet, plus, of course, the main part of the Amazon rainforest -- which visitors can help protect, by contributing toward the conservation economy.
Who can go
Almost everyone. Brazil's government has been infamously relaxed about the pandemic -- and that includes border control. Following a brief closure in 2020, the borders are now open, including to almost all tourists, for stays of up to 90 days.
British visitors are out of luck -- Brazil has banned flights to and from the UK since the announcement of the Alpha variant of Covid-19 first detected in England -- and nobody who has been in the UK in the past 14 days can go, other than residents, family members of Brazilian nationals, and some business travel.
Brazil has also banned flights coming from or transiting through India and South Africa.
If flying, before boarding, all arrivals must present a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours, and a traveler's health declaration form to their airline before boarding (the airline will distribute the form). Children under two are exempt.
Land and sea borders are closed to non-residents, unless en route to fly home. In that case, travelers must get authorization in advance, present a note from their own embassy or consulate authorizing their crossing at the border, show the plane ticket and go straight to the airport.
The majority of arrivals don't have to quarantine, but if you are traveling from the UK under the exceptions listed above, you must quarantine for 14 days upon landing in Brazil.
US CDC travel advisory:
Level 4: Very High. The CDC advises avoiding travel to Brazil. If you must travel to this destination, it advises you to make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.
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