Queiroga announces end of the health emergency imposed by Covid

The Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, declared this Sunday (17/4), in an official statement, the end of the Public Health Emergency of National Importance (Espin), instituted in February 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In practice, Espin enabled the federal government to sign emergency contracts for the purchase of medical supplies and vaccines against the coronavirus, among other measures.

“Thanks to the improvement in the epidemiological scenario, the wide vaccination coverage of the population and the capacity of SUS assistance, we are now able to announce the end of the Public Health Emergency of National Importance, Espin”, highlighted the minister.

See Queiroga’s announcement in full:

The measure takes effect from the publication of an ordinance, which, according to the minister, should occur in the coming days. This Monday (4/18), the ministry will grant an interview to detail how the country’s exit from the state of health emergency will take place in practice.

During the speech, the minister took stock of the actions taken by the ministry during the pandemic, such as the purchase of 476 million doses of vaccine. Queiroga also expressed solidarity with the families of Covid victims and those who suffer from the disease’s sequelae.

In the last 24 hours, Brazil recorded 22 deaths caused by Covid-19, the lowest number since March 28, 2020. The average number of daily deaths was 100, a variation of -48.2% compared to 14 days ago , indicating a fall. In total, Brazil has already lost 661,960 lives to the disease and recorded 30,252,618 cases of contamination.

Bolsonaro pressure

Queiroga came under pressure from President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), a critic of prevention and social isolation measures, to decree the “end of the pandemic”, in a change to endemic.

The ministry has begun to develop easing measures, such as no longer requiring pre-departure RT-PCR testing for vaccinated tourists and quarantine for non-vaccinated tourists, since this public must test negative.

Secretaries demand strategy

For flexibility, the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass) intends to demand from the federal government, this week, the creation of a joint strategy to revoke Espin. The group wants the Ministry of Health to determine a period of 90 days to organize the new operating dynamics of decrees and laws that were created during the duration of the pandemic.

In an exclusive interview with metropolises On Friday (4/15), Espírito Santo’s Health Secretary and Conass president, Nésio Fernandes, acknowledged that the country is experiencing a downward trend in cases and deaths from Covid and that the reduction should intensify in the next 30 years. days.

“The proposal is for Espin’s revocation to take place within 90 days. After 75 days, we suggest that a technical document be issued confirming the conditions and notifying state and municipal health agencies, so that the transition can be prepared”, he explained.

However, he argues that it is necessary to prepare for the scenario of the next semester. “We know that the vaccine has a very large drop in effectiveness after six months of the last doses. Revoking the state of emergency means reducing the population’s perception of risk,” he said.

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Who determines the end of the pandemic?

Although some countries have lifted Covid-19 prevention restrictions and even removed the public health emergency situation, as the United States announced last Wednesday (4/13), the World Health Organization (WHO) is the body responsible for determining the end of the state of public health emergency.

In an interview with metropolisesthe researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Julio Croda, in charge of important research on the epidemiological scenario of Covid-19 and the response to vaccines, explained the attributions in this case:

“Only the WHO determines the end of the pandemic, an event of global impact. She has the prerogative to understand that it has become endemic. A country, in isolation, cannot decree the end of the pandemic,” said Croda.

“The virus is circulating on every continent. What will define (the end) is the impact of vaccines on transmission. They are not sterilizing (they do not prevent infection) and this became more evident with Ômicron”, he continued.

Last Monday (11/4), members of the WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, responsible for assessing the scenario of the pandemic, concluded that it is not yet the time to downgrade the classification of Covid-19. The decision was announced on Wednesday (13/4).

While the outlook is optimistic, committee members understood that Covid-19 still negatively affects the health of populations around the world, and there is an ongoing risk of international spread. Therefore, there is a need for a coordinated response between countries.

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