The Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, said this Sunday night (17), in a radio and TV chain, that the government will publish in the coming days a normative act putting an end to the health emergency caused by Covid-19.
In his speech, the minister highlighted federal investments in the pandemic and offered solidarity to the victims of the disease.
Since February, the minister has been publicly addressing the matter. Behind the scenes, pressure from the Planalto Palace has long weighed heavily in this regard, given that President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) will run for reelection, and the minister’s expectation of being recognized as the manager who ended the health crisis in Brazil. .
“Thanks to the improvement in the epidemiological scenario, the wide vaccination coverage of the population and the capacity of SUS assistance, we are today able to announce the end of the public health emergency of national importance, Espin. this decision”, said the minister, in a statement.
Queiroga did not give details on how the measurement will be taken, nor the exact date.
“This measure, however, does not mean the end of Covid-19. We will continue to live with the virus. The Ministry of Health remains vigilant and prepared to adopt all necessary actions to guarantee the health of Brazilians in full respect of the federal constitution” , continued.
The so-called Espin (Public Health Emergency of National Importance) ) supports the emergency use of vaccines, purchases without bidding and other rules related to the pandemic.
In the Ministry of Health alone, 170 rules can be impacted with the end of the health emergency. The minister, however, did not give details on how these measures would look.
Among the most sensitive is the authorization of emergency use of vaccines and medicines. People who have worked on the matter say they are studying a way to not harm the use of Coronavac, which has emergency authorization.
Pfizer, Janssen and AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines already have the definitive registration and would not suffer any impact with the end of the health emergency.
Since its inception, the Covid-19 pandemic has officially caused the death of more than 660,000 Brazilians. Bolsonaro has always been a critic of the measures advocated by the World Health Organization, alleging more serious harm with the paralysis of the economy, and has encouraged denialist speeches and practices for several months, including the use of drugs that have been proven to be ineffective against the disease.
In his speech this Sunday, Querioga did not mention these points, but highlighted the government’s defense of the autonomy of doctors, even those who followed the so-called “early treatment”, which was the use of ineffective drugs for Covid, such as the chloroquine.
“I thank the doctors who, with the autonomy defended by the federal government, used the best of science in favor of patients as well as all the health professionals who tirelessly fought against this disease.”
At the end of March, Health was finalizing a document that would be delivered to the minister so that he could make a decision on the possible review in the state of emergency. In it, epidemiological data, from the SUS care network and the norms that would be impacted by the decision were being considered.
SUS managers say they are not against the end of the health emergency due to the reduction in the number of deaths and cases of Covid-19 in the country, but they try to convince the Ministry of Health to adopt a transition period of 90 days. In addition, they propose a risk communication plan and a return to normality plan.
The Conass (National Council of State Health Secretaries) defends said that this plan contains three axes.
Control indicators (definition of a rate of new cases and hospitalizations that may represent a risk for the region), an integrated surveillance system between cases of Covid-19 and influenza (at this point they ask that the Covid-19 vaccine be incorporated into the Program National Institute of Immunizations) and the assessment of the installed capacity of the states to provide assistance to cases of long-term Covid and other conditions that put pressure on the health service.
After promising to declare the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, a task that is only up to the WHO (World Health Organization), Queiroga modulated his speech and went on to work on preparations to close Espin, dated February 2020.
“Starting at the beginning of next month, with the decision of the Minister of Health to put an end to the pandemic, we must return to normality in Brazil,” Bolsonaro said in mid-March.
Queiroga and Bolsonaro even promised to end the pandemic in Brazil and declared that Covid-19 had become an endemic disease.
The plan was to reinforce the version that the government has overcome the health crisis, in addition to discouraging the use of masks and other protective measures against the virus.
as showed the Sheet, Minister Queiroga modulated his speech when he was alerted by assistants that he has no power to end the pandemic. The minister would only be able to revoke Espin. This would be the main way to empty restrictions against Covid.
Health then started to aim at the end of rules that are considered unnecessary at the moment,
Some are independent of Espin. The federal government has already recommended dispensing with the use of masks in work environments in states and municipalities with a “low” or “moderate” number of Covid cases.
The changes were made in a joint ordinance of the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Health.
Queiroga has even been working without a mask at the Ministry of Health since March. The minister stopped using the protection as a result of the decree of Governor Ibaneis Rocha (MDB), which made its use more flexible in the Federal District.
By rule, the mask is no longer mandatory in open and closed places. Other states and municipalities have also implemented the flexibility.
The government will state a public health emergency on February 4, 2020. This measure can occur in cases of epidemiological emergencies (such as the coronavirus), disasters and lack of assistance to the population.
Since then, a series of actions have been taken, such as the approval of the emergency use of a vaccine for the first time in the country, which took place in January 2021.
In addition, there were contracts without bidding and the issuance of extraordinary credits, which are not included within the expenditure ceiling.
In May 2021, Secovid (Extraordinary Secretariat to Combat Covid-19) was created, by means of a decree, to coordinate actions during the public health emergency. In practice, it loses its function if the health emergency ends.