Brazil monitoring 14 suspected cases of coronavirus

State of emergency will be declared, though no case has been confirmed

Published in 04/02/2020 - 12:00 By Pedro Ivo de Oliveira - Brasília

A report by the Health Ministry shows that 14 patients are being monitored in Brazil due to suspicions of a coronavirus infection.

In a press conference Monday (Feb. 3), Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said the country will declare state of public emergency for the coronavirus, even though no case has been confirmed. The reason behind the decision, the minister argued, is that it is necessary for the repatriation of the 40 Brazilian nationals in the city of Wuhan, in the Hubei province, central China.

The minister ruled out the possibility of barring the Chinese or travelers from China from entering Brazil, as was done in the US. “This is an innocuous measure, with no proven efficacy,” he declared.

Quarantine

Mandetta revealed that the quarantine protocol for Brazilians coming from Wuhan will be longer than expected. “The quarantine will last 18 days. Four days is the security margin. We’re still organizing the logistics. The operation in search of Brazilians will be conducted by the Ministry of Defense. The talks with China will be held by the Foreign Ministry. But a screening will be carried out by the Health Ministry before boarding. Brazilians displaying symptoms of coronavirus during the evacuation will not board the plane for Brazil.”

“Anyone exhibiting symptoms will not be removed. Only those not showing symptoms will be allowed aboard. We’ll preserve the safety of other Brazilians,” Mandetta said.

The defense minister is considering using the Anápolis air base, in Goiás state, or that of Florianópolis, in Santa Catarina, for the quarantine.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Aline Leal / Nira Foster

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