Ferando de Noronha, an impossibly beautiful 21-island archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, 350km off the coast of Brazil, has reopened its borders to international travellers. But there’s a catch.
Unlike many other international destinations that require confirmation of negative coronavirus test results upon entry, Ferando de Noronha wants evidence that travellers have already contracted and recovered from COVID-19 and are now ‘cured’ of the virus.
Ferando de Noronha, located in the state of Pernambuco, is in the first phase of the state’s reopening process, which began on 1 September.
“There hasn’t been community transmission on the island for a long time. We have to keep it that way,” said Pernambuco health secretary André Longo. “Obviously, this step is going to be done with an eye on safety and reactivating economic activity on the archipelago.”
Visitors who take up this once in a lifetime opportunity may even enjoy certain exclusive benefits made possible by the small number of tourists on the islands. Previously, some beaches were only accessible until 4pm. Now, groups of up to 10 people may be granted access and allowed to bring food and drink with no restrictions on time. Shops, gyms and salons are open, public transport is operating and sporting events and religious celebrations are permitted. Restaurants and bars are now operating at 50 per cent capacity. Face masks are compulsory in all public spaces.
So, how do you get to the islands? Well, the first step is to contract and survive the coronavirus. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that COVID-19 antibodies can remain in the body for four months post infection. Once that is out of the way you can begin to plan your trip.
And you will need to provide one of two test results – a positive serological test (lgG) that proves your body contains novel coronavirus antibodies or a positive RT-PCR performed more than 20 days prior. You’ll also need to pay the standard Environmental Preservation Fee before being granted access to the islands.
How badly do you want to go on a holiday? Do you think that granting ‘cured’ individuals access to the islands is an effective way to manage the spread of the virus?
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