NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Brazilian Ministry of Health has reported five cases of the Ômicron variant to date–three in São Paulo and two in the Federal District.

Eight cases are under investigation, one in Minas Gerais, one in Rio de Janeiro and six in the Federal District.

As soon as the first signs of the arrival of Ômicron in the country were made, the Ministry of Health set up a situation room to monitor the epidemiological scenario of the variant and assess the risks for adopting the necessary measures. This Thursday, the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, visited the facilities, spoke with the Secretary of Health Surveillance, Arnaldo Medeiros, technicians and health authorities about the variants of the virus, especially Ômicron.

Queiroga reinforced Brazil’s role in surveillance and gene sequencing of the coronavirus. “I say and repeat: the safety of the Brazilian population is the Unified Health System, the SUS. Due to its logistics, it has to work in an integrated manner with states and municipalities. It is the strength of this set that will give society what it needs. At this moment, it is necessary that the Brazilian population trust even more in the health authorities”, he said.

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The Secretary of Health Surveillance, Arnaldo Medeiros, said the Ministry of Health will continue working to increase vaccine coverage, apply the booster dose in the population, strengthen laboratory surveillance and minimize the spread of variants.

“We have increasingly reinforced the increase in genomic surveillance, which is extremely important as a tool for monitoring the pattern of circulation of variants. We have already acquired genetic sequencers for every state in the country. This is one of the examples of our Ministry’s efforts to increase genomic surveillance”, he stated.

To further intensify the capacity to carry out the genetic sequencing examination, necessary to identify the presence of virus variants, the Ministry of Health reinforced the structure of the Central Public Health Laboratories (Lacen) in the states, which have the capacity to analyze 10,000 samples sequenced by month.