On Wednesday, May 13, authorities in Rio de Janeiro announced a lockdown in several neighborhoods in the city, effecitve immediately. Access to these neighborhoods is restricted to employees and customers of shops, pharmacies, and banks, with private vehicles and non-residents prohibited from entering. The areas affected include Freguesia, Madureira, Grajaú, Cascadura, Taquara, Gauaratiba, Bangu, Campo Grande and Realengo, as well as parts of Avenidas Dias da Cruz and Sargento de Milícias, in Méier and Pavuna respectively, and the surroundings of Praça Saens Peña in Tijuca. Parking on the waterfront between Leme and Pontão beaches has also been prohibited for non-residents, and bars are limited to delivery. These restrictions are to be in place until Monday, May 18, but may be subject to extension. The neighboring cities of Niterói and São Gonçalo in Grande Rio also started a lockdown on Monday, May 11, to last until Friday, May 15, at the earliest.
This comes as the mandatory wearing of masks in 92 municipalities of Rio de Janeiro state was approved by the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, May 13, and is expected to be signed into law by the governor shortly. Violation of this measure is to be punishable by a fine.
All of Brazil's land borders remain closed but exceptions have been made for 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, last extended on Tuesday, April 28, 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 15, there are 203,165 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 13,999 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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