Understand the political and legal impact of the end of the health emergency – News

The Ministry of Health announced the end of the public health emergency due to Covid-19 in Brazil. However, the WHO (World Health Organization) maintains the classification of pandemic. The ministry provided for a transition period for the adequacy of rules linked to the state of emergency.

There are more than two thousand administrative acts that can be extinguished, but also become permanent strategies. A normative officializing the end of the state of emergency brings the proposal of a transition period. The ordinance, which is expected to be published on Wednesday (20), will enter into force in 30 days, allowing states, municipalities and the federal government itself to address the rules linked to the emergency state. During this period, administrators will decide whether or not the measures need to be reformulated to remain valid.

“We will verify, on a case-by-case basis, the needs to maintain public policies that resulted, in a way, from the state of emergency, so that no one is left behind”, guaranteed Minister Marcelo Queiroga, in a press conference this Monday ( 18), marked to explain the decision.

The novelty pleases President Jair Bolsonaro, who had already been announcing and celebrating the flexibility in the non-pharmacological measures that the change would bring. Supporters were also happy with the change and it serves as a campaign strategy for reelection. The representative has reinforced that the federal government acted correctly in the conduct of the pandemic, making all possible resources available.

“There were billions of reais in transfers and debt renegotiations during the pandemic that allowed the fight against Covid, the saving of millions of lives and also the financial health of states and municipalities: R$ 375 billion”, said Bolsonaro. From then on, he maintained, throughout the month, that it was time to return to normalcy. “We are adapting, we are increasingly seeking to act correctly with regard to the pandemic, which is ending.”

On the other hand, there was no downgrading of the pandemic to endemic, as announced by Bolsonaro. This is because change is a WHO competence. “We are not ending an emergency of international importance. We are not ending the pandemic. It is not a function of the ministry”, highlighted Minister Queiroga, but considering that, if he could end the pandemic, “it wouldn’t even exist”.

pandemic scenario

In the most recent deliberation, those responsible for evaluating the WHO pandemic scenario concluded that it is not the time to downgrade the classification of Covid-19. In comparison with other international decisions, while Brazil relaxed the measures, the United States expanded the use of the mask for another three months.

In Queiroga’s assessment, Brazil did not make a mistake and is not hasty in putting an end to the state of emergency. “Countries are sovereign to make their decisions, based on the data of each country. We are very comfortable with this decision for the simple fact: we have a SUS, which the US does not have. We also have a population that is very adherent to vaccination”, he said, highlighting that Brazil represents all the countries of the Americas in the intergovernmental body that negotiates the pandemic treaty and that, therefore, it maintains a strong dialogue with the WHO.

“We need to reconcile facing health problems with our economy”, completed Queiroga, in a speech in line with what the Planalto advocates.


On the occasion, the minister stated that “no public health policy will be interrupted” and that the end of the emergency had the necessary predictability, in dialogue with the presidents of the Senate, the Chamber and the STF. But the CNS (National Health Council) itself contests the decision. In the assessment of the entity’s president, Fernando Pigatto, there was a lack of dialogue with Social Control, states and municipalities. The minister’s announcement in the middle of Easter was defined as “inadmissible” by him. “We at the CNS will officially position ourselves in the next few days”, he added.

Conass (National Council of Health Secretaries) also prepares a letter to the minister, stressing the need for the transition period to avoid investment losses and the discontinuation of public policies. The movements show that, even with the transition strategy, the change can still represent a clash with the other instances of the powers, which fear the interruption of measures adopted in the context of the state of emergency at the local level.

However, according to the executive secretary of the Ministry of Health, Rodrigo Cruz, the transition ordinance is concerned with ensuring that state and municipal regulations based on the state of emergency are not promptly interrupted. He said that even the end of the state of emergency is based on the period for adapting norms and laws, in addition to the continuity of monitoring the epidemiological situation, together with local managers.


Within Health, the almost 170 ordinances that were linked to the emergency state were previously studied by the ministry. “Many deal with the transfer of resources to Covid, enabling beds”, said the executive secretary. The ordinance will provide that, in case of transfer of resources whose transfers are still taking place, the process will be concluded before the rule is revoked.

In the case of vaccines, Cruz said that the understanding is that the law that makes purchases more flexible does not need to be used anymore, since the federal government has already guaranteed the necessary purchases. “As we have concluded enough contracts, we understand that part of these devices no longer need to be used”.

The portfolio proposes to maintain the authorization for the emergency use of inputs used in the fight against Covid, the prioritization of analyzes of product records with a focus on combating the pandemic and the maintenance of the rapid testing policy in pharmacies. These three demands were requested by the federal government to Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency), responsible for the deliberations.

Anvisa highlighted that the ministry’s request is for the validity of the rules for one year and that it is reviewing the matter. “The extension of the term of validity of the norms still depends on the approval of the Collegiate Board of Anvisa and, if approved, should allow vaccines and medicines in emergency use to continue in use for one year”, informed the agency.

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