Fernando de Noronha, Brazil: Island with world's best beach only open to tourists who have had Covid-19

Fernando de Noronha is regularly voted one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.

The archipelago off the coast of Brazil is a tourist mecca, and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The beach at Baia do Sancho was voted the best in the world this year in the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards.

Like most destinations in 2020, it has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but now officials there have announced it is opening up again for the first time since mid-March – the catch is that only those who have had Covid-19 will be allowed in.

Visitors will need to prove they have recovered from the virus, and will need to submit one of two types of tests - PCR virus tests or IgG antibody tests - at least 20 days before arriving at the island.

Guilherme Rocha, the archipelago's administrator, said in a news conference: "In this first stage of reopening, only tourists who have already had Covid and have recovered and are immune to the disease will be authorised (since) they can neither transmit it, nor be infected again."

That is despite evidence that a man in Hong Kong was recently reinfected with Covid.

"What we've seen is that these cases of reinfection are very rare and very debatable. There are doubts," said Rocha. "The current understanding is that someone who has already had this disease is immune. So this is the protocol we are following."

Brazil has had one of the worst outbreaks of coronavirus in the world with more than 3.8 million infections and 121,000 deaths, however, there have been only been 93 cases on Fernando de Noronha and no fatalities.

"We are aiming for the smallest possible risk. And what is the smallest risk possible right now? What is the safest way? It's reopening tourism on the island only for people who have already had Covid," said Rocha.

Stuff.co.nz

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