On Wednesday (2 February), the Senate approved Bill No. 23/2020, drafted by the Federal Government to implement sanitary measures to combat the coronavirus. The law was signed off by President Jair Bolsonaro last week, considering that the Brazilians repatriated by air from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, are expected to land in Brazil on Saturday (8 February).
According to the Federal Government, repatriation was conditional on consent to impose sanitary measures including, e.g., 18 days of quarantine, temperature checks 3 times a day, collection of clinical samples, medical examinations and laboratory tests. However, the law needs to be approved to guarantee the legitimacy of these compulsory sanitary measures, especially if Brazil has a confirmed case.
Last week, WHO classified the epidemic as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and called for coordinated international action to combat the spread.
On Friday (31 January), following WHO’s protocol, the Ministry of Health and ANVISA released sanitary control measures for ports and airports.
Uncertainty over the outbreak’s progress has increased concerns for Brazilian companies that have been observing measures adopted in affected countries, such as functioning of essential service activities, home office assignments, paid or unpaid leave and, in particular, the limits of employer power over an employee’s constitutional right to privacy and discrimination.