São Paulo's Governor João Doria and Rio de Janeiro's Governor Wilson Witzel announced on Friday, May 8, the extension of quarantine and social distancing measures through Sunday, May 31, to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and prevent the state's healthcare system from being overwhelmed. The quarantine began on Tuesday, March 24, and residents have been instructed to remain at home unless they require essential goods and services. Essential services, such as hospitals, dental clinics, supermarkets, bakeries, banks, and public transport will continue to operate. It is also mandatory to wear masks in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in essential commercial establishments, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, as well as public transport.
Meanwhile, a lockdown remains in effect in São Luís (Maranhão state) and three neighboring cities from Tuesday, May 5, until Thursday, May 14. Authorities in Fortaleza (Ceará state) also imposed restrictive measures from Friday, May 8. Residents in these areas will only be allowed to leave their homes for essentials. Ceará Governor Camilo Santana added that the social isolation decree in the state will be extended for another 15 days until Wednesday, May 20, as a precautionary measure. Roadblocks will be placed at entrances into the city.
As of Sunday, May 10, the use of face masks in public and in some private areas providing essential services (such as supermarkets) is now compulsory in various cities including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasília.
All of Brazil's land borders continue to remain closed but will be open for trucks carrying essential goods and people on humanitarian missions. Officials have also ruled out closing the borders to returning citizens. Meanwhile, a 30-day ban for all foreign visitors remains in place. The restrictions will not apply to foreign spouses, parents, and children of a Brazilian nationals, as well as foreign residents of Brazil and transiting travelers.
As of May 10, there are 155,939 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10,627 related deaths nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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