As of Saturday, May 23, Brazilian health officials have confirmed 330,890 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and 21,048 associated deaths nationwide. Brazil now has the second-largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, only second to the US. Sao Paulo remains the worst affected city with 76,871 COVID-19 cases confirmed as of May 23.
Quarantine and social-distancing measures have been extended in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro through Sunday, May 31, to 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 need to leave their homes to shop for 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, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, and Brasília in essential commercial establishments, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, as well as on public transport.
All of Brazil's land borders continue to remain closed except 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 do not apply to foreign spouses, parents, and children of Brazilian nationals, as well as foreign residents of Brazil and transiting travelers.
Further spread of the virus is 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.