Local authorities in São Luís (Maranhão state) announced that the city will enter a lockdown on Tuesday, May 5, until Thursday, May 14, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The lockdown will cover São Luís and three neighboring cities in Maranhão state. All individuals are required to stay at home and may only leave for essential tasks, such as buying groceries and visiting the pharmacy. Most businesses are closed; schools and public transport have been suspended. Additionally, parks are also shut, and residents are not allowed to exercise outside. Separately, authorities in Fortaleza (Ceará state) will also impose restrictive measures from Friday, May 8, allowing residents to only 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.
The governor of São Paulo, the most affected state in the pandemic, announced that he would seek to gradually reopen the state by Monday, May 11, though specific details have not been announced. Under the current measures, nonessential businesses remain closed. Residents are required to remain at home unless they require essential goods and services. The measures are currently in place until Sunday, May 10. 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 the state from Thursday, May 7.
All of Brazil's land borders remain closed but will be open for trucks carrying essential goods and humanitarian missions. Officials have also ruled out closing the borders to returning citizens. Meanwhile, a 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.
On Sunday, May 3, hundreds of protestors gathered in Brasília to protest ongoing quarantine measures imposed due to COVID-19. According to media reports, several journalists were physically attacked by demonstrators. The latest protests comes two weeks after demonstrations in major cities on April 18, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Brasilia, calling for state governors to resign and denouncing COVID-19 lockdown measures, which have suspended business operations for several weeks.
As of May 5, there are 114,715 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7921 associated fatalities in the country. Brazil also recorded its highest number of new deaths in a single day, with 600 fatalities reported on May 5. Further 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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