Senate President, Health Minister talk about easing pandemic alert

easing pandemic alert
Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco. Photo: Jefferson Rudy/SF/CC-BY 4.0

Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco held a meeting with Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga to discuss pandemic matters. The government is in favor of easing Brazil’s state of health emergency, in place since February 2020.

Mr. Queiroga argued that the pandemic is nearing its end — echoing the words of President Jair Bolsonaro. Mr. Pacheco, however, doesn’t seem to be on the same page. “I’ve expressed my concerns about new waves of infections, as we have seen in China,” he wrote on Twitter. 

The World Health Organization recently said it is not currently considering the possibility of declaring an end to the pandemic — two years after it was declared on March 11, 2020. “The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Covid-19 is looking at the criteria needed to declare the termination of the public health emergency,” the agency said in an email. “As of now, we are not there yet.”

Earlier this month, Mr. Bolsonaro argued that Covid should be declared an “endemic” disease in Brazil. That wouldn’t change much in practical terms, but experts fear it would send the wrong message to citizens that they are free from risk.