Sao Paulo to close bars, restaurants, shops on nights and weekends due to raging COVID-19

SAO PAULO, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo announced on Friday a return to the strictest phase of quarantine starting on Monday, with the closure of bars, restaurants and non-essential businesses during nights and weekends due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.

Governor of Sao Paulo Joao Doria said at a press conference that these measures, which will be in force until Feb. 7, are taken to avoid a collapse in the hospital system of the richest and most populated state, but also the epicenter of COVID-19 infections in Brazil.

"We are falling victim to a second wave of coronavirus in Sao Paulo and Brazil. The speed of the increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths is concerning. Before all Brazilians are vaccinated we must face the pandemic with these types of measures," he said.

For two weeks starting on Monday, only supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies will be allowed to operate after 8 p.m. and on weekends and holidays.

According to the weekly epidemiological data published on Friday, the state average per 100,000 inhabitants rose from 287.9 to 348.6 new COVID-19 cases, while the rate of new hospitalizations increased from 49.3 to 54.1, and deaths rose from 5.8 to 7.1.

So far, Sao Paulo has accumulated 1,670,754 COVID-19 cases and 50,938 deaths, while nationally the latest figures are 8,697,368 infections and 214,147 deaths.

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