- Andre Biernath – @andre_biernath
- The BBC News in Sao Paulo is from Brazil
The status of the Govt-19 epidemic in Europe, the emergence of new variants (such as Ômicron), the number of vulnerable citizens and the low vaccination rate in South America should serve as a warning in the coming months for Brazil.
This is an assessment made by Dr. Jurandi Frudoso, Executive Physician and Executive Secretary of the National Council of Health Secretaries, Gonas.
Master of Collective Health at the University of Brasilia and Ceará Health Secretary between 2003 and 2006, the expert reinforces the need for prudence with the corona virus, even though the situation in the country has improved over the past few months.
“Having been inactive for two years in some sectors, it is natural to be anxious to return to normal life now. But we must be careful as many yellow lights have been lit in some parts of the world recently,” he analyzes.
Frutuoso understands the need to be careful at some upcoming events such as New Year’s Eve parties and carnivals. They stimulate tourist traffic and accumulate, which is one of the main centers for the spread of the corona virus.
“Tourist entry and domestic travel between cities and states increase the likelihood of additions and this could make our situation vulnerable again,” he estimates.
One step up, two back
According to Frutuoso, advances in the vaccine against Covit-19 have allowed Brazil to remain in a “peaceful environment,” with a decline in moving average cases and morbidity and mortality since the beginning of the second half of 2021.
“But we still have 30% of the population, it’s not with absolute terms or getting any medicine,” he calculates.
“It simply came to our notice then because we were talking about millions of people who could be so vulnerable,” he added.
This count includes all ages, including children who have not yet been vaccinated against the Covit-19 vaccine by Brazilian authorities.
If we consider only the target audience of the national campaign, almost 90% of the individuals received the first dose and 75% received the complete vaccination schedule.
The health doctor is also drawing attention to the low vaccine coverage in other South American countries bordering Brazil.
With 76% of Uruguay’s population fully vaccinated and 64% of Argentina’s protected citizens, the campaign lags far behind other countries in the region. This is the case in Suriname (37% of individuals take both doses), Guyana (35%), Paraguay (35%) and Bolivia (33%). The numbers are on the website Our world in data, Which compiles information and statistics about the epidemic.
According to Gonas’s secretary, this represents a second threat to Brazil: an increase in the rate of spread of the corona virus in border areas and cities, and a steady flow of people exacerbating the situation.
The third element that serves as a warning to our country is the new wave of Govt-19 affecting Europe. In recent weeks, the continent has been classified as a new center of epidemic by the World Health Organization and some countries have had to reintroduce certain restrictions and locks.
Frutuoso recalled that a few months ago, the European situation calmed down – prompting the abandonment of certain measures such as the use of masks and the prevention of accumulation.
“Furthermore, to do that, we have now discovered the Ômicron variant in South Africa, which brings with it a set of mutations that still need to be explored, but it could affect previous immunity,” the expert notes.
What to do now?
Gonas calls for prudence and caution from general managers in order to prevent these factors from affecting Brazil and exacerbating the disease again.
In letters published in recent days, the organization makes two main appeals. First, the federal government implements the requirement for proof of vaccination for travelers entering Brazil under the guidance of the National Health Monitoring Agency (ANVISA).
For now, passengers landing here only need to submit a PCR negative test for Govt disease and a health report.
Second, city and state managers avoid large parties and gatherings in the coming months, especially on New Year’s Eve and Carnival.
“No decision can be made for more than 5,000 Brazilian municipalities.
“It is important that managers continue to vaccinate and encourage non-drug activities to control the infection, such as using masks, hand washing and minimizing crowds as much as possible.”
“In short, we need to put into practice two very important rules: common sense and responsibility. All decisions must be based on scientific evidence and adhere to technical criteria,” the sanitizer concludes.
Two weights, two sizes?
Finally, Frutuoso understands that the decision on whether or not to cancel the carnival, which has generated heated discussions on social media, should be combined with other restrictions – it would be futile not to hold ceremonies in February when concerts are allowed. For example, football cults and games take place in full swing in late 2021 and early 2022.
More than 70 cities in and around the coast of Sவோo Paulo have decided not to host Carnival next year, according to recent news reports.
“If a municipality allows everything and wants to ban the carnival alone, it is irresponsible and weakens the decision,” the secretary objected.
“If you’re worried about what’s going to happen in February, you can’t leave the masks on and let the crowd in,” he says.
The expert emphasizes that all general policies for controlling the epidemic should be carried out with prudence, clarity and technical criteria.
“We all know how painful and tiring the last two years have been. But what can we do now that we’ve been here?”, He asks.
“These precautions help prevent yellow lights in other parts of the world from burning in Brazil,” he concludes.
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