Tuesday, July 23, 2024
34 C
Brunei Town

Brazil to lift public health emergency ‘in coming days’

BRASÍLIA (AFP) – Brazil announced it will “in the coming days” lift public health emergency measures in place for over two years, citing a drop in the number of deaths and infections.

Over 660,000 people died of the virus in Brazil, one of the hardest-hit countries second only to the United States (US).

But the number of infections and deaths has fallen dramatically as authorities ramped up immunisation, with about 75 per cent of its 212 million people now fully vaccinated.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said the public health emergency declared on February 3, 2020 – when the virus started spreading globally after it first emerged in Wuhan, China – will soon end.

“We have the conditions to announce today the end of the health emergency,” Queiroga said on television, adding that the announcement will be formalised by a decree “in the next few days”.

“This, however, does not mean the end of Covid-19. We will continue to live with the virus,” the minister said.

The decision came after Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who famously dismissed the virus as “a little flu”, asked his minister a few weeks ago to decree an “end to the pandemic” and called for a return to normalcy.

Earlier this month, Brazil also loosened restrictions for international travellers, scrapping a 14-day quarantine for vaccinated foreign visitors.

The far-right Covid-skeptic president is up for re-election this year, and has come under fire in the past for his handling of the pandemic.