Brazilian scientists complete coronavirus DNA sequencing

A group of Brazilian scientists carried out the first genetic sequencing of the coronavirus in Latin America in no more than 48 hours. The enterprise was conducted by the Adolfo Lutz Insitute, in partnership with the Tropical Medicine Institute of the Medical School of the São Paulo University (USP) and the Oxford University, in the UK. Similar efforts have been made around the world and have taken around 15 days for the virus sequence to be fully mapped. The Brazilian researchers were able to make the data available 48 hours…

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Suspected cases of coronavirus rise in Brazil

Some 24 hours after the confirmation of Brazil’s first case of coronavirus, the official number of people suspected of having the virus in the country was brought to 132, reported João Gabbardo, executive secretary at the Health Ministry. This increase, the secretary said, comes as a result of the increase in the number of countries with infected people that exchange an intense migratory flow with Brazil. An example is the first case confirmed in Brazil. A 61-year-old man did not visit China, which concentrates the highest amount of cases in…

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Brazil to launch campaign to provide clarifications on Covid-19

The Brazilian government is set to launch a countrywide campaign in the coming weeks to provide clarifications on the new coronavirus (Covid-19), said Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta. He and eight other ministers met Wednesday (Feb. 26) at the Planalto presidential palace to discuss the measures to tackle the respiratory syndrome, which had its first case recently confirmed in Brazil. “We’re going to have to broaden our communication with the people a little. We already had this communication plan. […] We’re starting a campaign so people may understand the importance…

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Coronavirus: Brazil updates criteria for blood donation

After the outbreak of the new coronavirus, the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency, Anvisa, and the Health Ministry have updated the criteria for donation at blood banks as a preventive measure countrywide. The screening already included a test for dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika. This year’s update includes Covid-19 and other strains, like the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers). The people who were in regions where case cases of coronavirus have been confirmed will only be allowed to donate blood in 30 days, starting…

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Brazil confirms first case of coronavirus

The Brazilian Health Ministry today (Feb. 26) confirmed the first case of a Brazilian infected with the new coronavirus (Covid-19). The patient is a 61-year-old man who lives in São Paulo and was in Lombardy, northern Italy, between February 9 and 21. After returning from his trip, last Friday (21), he displayed signs and symptoms compatible with the disease—fever, dry cough, sore throat, and a running nose. At São Paulo’s Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, on Monday (24), the man underwent a series of clinical tests which indicated a suspicion of…

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Brazil monitoring 14 suspected cases of coronavirus

A report by the Health Ministry shows that 14 patients are being monitored in Brazil due to suspicions of a coronavirus infection. In a press conference Monday (Feb. 3), Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said the country will declare state of public emergency for the coronavirus, even though no case has been confirmed. The reason behind the decision, the minister argued, is that it is necessary for the repatriation of the 40 Brazilian nationals in the city of Wuhan, in the Hubei province, central China. The minister ruled out the…

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Coronavirus: Brazilians in Wuhan to be repatriated

Brazil’s Foreign and Defense Ministries announced the government is adopting all necessary measures to bring back the Brazilian nationals in the city of Wuhan, in the Hubei province, China, the epicenter of the new coronavirus epidemics. They will be quarantined right after landing in Brazil, as per international protocol and under the supervision of health officials, a note issued on Sunday (Feb. 2) by the two ministries says. The Defense Ministry, aided by the Brazilian Air Force, is currently devising a plan for the operation, which may include a chartered…

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Brazil has three suspected cases of coronavirus, minister says

Brazil’s Health Ministry has confirmed late in the afternoon Tuesday (28) that the country has three suspected cases of coronavirus. In addition to a 22-year-old student, who has been hospitalized in Belo Horizonte, two other people are suspected of carrying the virus. One of them in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul state, and another in Curitiba, Paraná. These patients are reported to meet the criteria for a suspected case. They show fever and at least one respiratory sign or symptom, in addition to having traveled in the last 14…

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President Bolsonaro goes on official trip to India

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is flying this morning (Jan. 23) to India, where he will be a special guest at the country’s Republic Day celebrations next Sunday (26). The visit will include the signing of bilateral deals on online security, bioenergy, and health care. The president, his entourage, and five ministers should arrive in New Delhi at around 4 pm, local time, on Friday (24). No official engagements have been scheduled for this day. On the following day (25), the Brazilian leader has state visits with Indian President Ram Nath…

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Brazil lowers minimum age for sex change surgery to 18

Brazil’s Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) yesterday (Jan. 9) issued a resolution changing the rules governing procedures directed at transgender people. The new rules reduce the minimum age for gender reassignment surgery from 21 to 18 years old and stipulate that cross-sex hormone therapy must not be administered until the age of 16. The move is believed to help monitor the health condition of trans people and train health agents whose job is to offer assistance to this segment of the population. “This subject has been debated for 15 years.…

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Brazil, Angola ink bilateral deal on security

On the fourth and last part of his visit to West African countries, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo signed the Agreement on Security and Internal Order in Luanda today (Dec. 12). Araújo was also welcomed by Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, to whom the chancellor handed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s official invitation to visit Brazil in 2020. The minister met with Finance Minister Vera Daves de Sousa. The pact, Araújo stated, is a major step in fighting organize crime, terrorism, and drug trafficking in land as well as in…

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Losses stemming from corruption at Petrobras said to be underrated

Petrobras CEO Roberto Castello Branco said the estimated financial losses stemming from corruption at the state-controlled oi giant have been underrated. He was referring to the 2014 report on the amounts siphoned off. On the occasion, Petrobras recognized a total of $1.4 billion lost due to illicit payments uncovered by probes under Operation Car Wash. “I believe that this estimate, however good the criteria used in its calculation may be, does not correspond with the reality. We got approximately [$1 billion] from the Car Wash task force in Curitiba [city]…

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Brazil retains position in 2019 Human Development Index

In 2019, Brazil retained its 79th position on the ranking with 189 countries organized by their Human Development Index (HDI). In Latin America, it ranks fourth, below Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. The increase was 0.001 point from the previous score. The nation was successful in curbing certain inequalities, but will have to tackle new challenges. The HDI is based on three pillars seen as paramount by the United Nations (UN): health, in the form of people’s life expectancy; knowledge, through the average number of years of study compared to the…

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Meat price hike pulls up November inflation

The 8.09 percent increase in the price of meats was the main driver behind Brazil’s inflation, as measured by the National Broad Consumer Price Index (IPCA), in November. The country’s government statistics agency IBGE announced today (Dec. 6) that the IPCA stood at 0.51 percent in November, the highest rate for the month since 2015 (1.01%). Food and drinks in general experienced a price hike of 0.72 percent. “Food in the household had been on the wane for six months. The increase now was pulled by meats. To make clear…

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Brazil allows production, sale of cannabis-based medication

The Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency, Anvisa, approved a regulation on the production, import, and sale of cannabis-derived medication. The decision was made unanimously by the agency’s voting directors, who met Tuesday (Dec. 3) in Brasília. It comes into force in 90 days. Medicines can only be purchased with a prescription, and product can only be bought at drugstores. Compounding with such substances will not be allowed. “The instructional leaflet for cannabis-based products will include warnings such as ‘The use of this product may cause physical or psychological dependency,’ or ‘Individual…

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Unicef: Brazil’s child mortality rate sees historic decline

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) is holding a session at the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo today (Nov. 27) to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The agency put together a report crediting Brazil for having improved rates such as mortality, child labor, and school exclusion over the years. The impact of the initiatives implemented by the federal and state governments has been countrywide. From 1990 to 2017, the data show a “historic reduction” in the total of deaths among children younger…

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Initiative aims to step up vaccination in Brazil’s border towns

Brazil’s Health Ministry has launched the second stage of Movimento Vacina Brasil nas Fronteiras, an initiative to step up vaccination efforts across 16 municipalities by November 30. The goal is to expand the vaccination coverage, especially against measles and yellow fever. The plan has Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and associated nations (Bolivia and Colombia) engaged. To meet its objective, the ministry sent to border states 11.3 thousand doses of the yellow fever vaccine and 11.2 thousand doses of the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella). The towns covered…

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Over 95% of Brazilian children go to school: Unicef

The United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, today (Nov. 12) launched a study showing the impacts of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Brazilian population. The survey found that 95.3 percent of children and adolescents aged four through 17 go to school regularly. A reduction of 71 percent was reported in the child mortality rate since the 90s, a rate well above 33 percent set by Unicef. However, the study shows that violence became a major problem for young people, especially those belonging to ethnic minorities or…

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Brazil sets up special security scheme for Brics meeting

A special security scheme was adopted by the Brazilian government to ensure the integrity of people attending the 11th Brics summit meeting. The gathering is slated to take place in Brasília on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 13, 14) and is expected to draw South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, China’s Xi Jinping, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, in addition to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Tasked with assessing risk and prevent crises, among other duties, the head of the Institutional Security Office, Augusto Heleno, said today (12) that the…

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Brics 2019: Cooperation in communication and information technology

What was originally conceived as a nickname given by the financial market gained momentum and became a cooperation mechanism encompassing 3.1 billion people, or 41 percent of the world’s population. An acronym formed with the initials of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, Brics is made up of the globe’s five top emerging economies and is holding its 11th summit meeting in Brasília on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 14, 15). In 2001, British economist Jim O’Neill, former chairman of Asset Management at US investment bank Goldman Sachs, coined the…

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