App of the Ministry of Health guides use of mask only for infected

BRASILIA – More than a year after the beginning of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health maintains, on official channels, outdated or incorrect information about the use of masks during the pandemic. The official application created to guide the population on the care with the new coronavirus recommends the use of a mask only for those who have symptoms of covid-19 or are caring for a person suspected of having the virus. The recommendation contradicts the statements of the newly installed minister, Marcelo Queiroga, who has defended the use of protection by all and has already mentioned that the country should adopt as a slogan to be the “homeland of masks”.

“For healthy people, wear a mask only if you are caring for a person suspected of having a coronavirus infection,” says the program, which was updated in October 2020. More than 5 million downloads of this app were made only on the “Play Store” , used on the Android system.

The same application also states that there is still no vaccine available against covid-19, even though Brazil started its immunization campaign in January.

In addition to the app, the folder website also contained outdated information about the disease. Until last week, the Ministry of Health’s “questions and answers” session on the pandemic stated that handshaking was the main form of contagion of covid-19. Furthermore, he denied that the disease was transmitted through the air. The page was deleted after questioning the Estadão.

“Is COVID-19 transmitted over the air?”, Asked Saúde, on the page. “No, the transmission happens from a sick person to another through close contact, through: handshake (main form of contagion)”, was the answer. In addition to this form, droplets of saliva, sneeze, cough, phlegm and contaminated objects and surfaces were also mentioned as forms and places of contagion.

On its website, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that the transmission of covid-19 is made from one person to another, through droplets that spread from a person’s nose or mouth, especially after coughing or sneeze. The organ also cites contamination by touching the eyes, nose and mouth after having contact with a contaminated surface. The handshake, however, is far from being treated as the main form of transmission.

The Federal Government’s Server Portal is also out of date. In the text on guidelines for avoiding contamination, there is no mention of the use of masks. Updated on March 16, the page recommends measures such as hand hygiene, covering the face with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing, avoiding crowding and maintaining well-ventilated environments, but ignores the need to use protective equipment.

Since taking office, after Eduardo Pazuello left, Queiroga has demanded the use of masks. “Now it is a homeland with a mask,” said the doctor, wearing two protective masks, in a statement on the 26th, at Planalto Palace.

Sought, the Health did not inform if the minister also intends to reserve resources for the purchase of the equipment to the population, as did some States and municipalities. Queiroga has also stated that one of his first actions in the portfolio was to issue an ordinance to determine the use of protection within the Ministry of Health, more than a year after the start of the pandemic.

As the Estadão last month, the portfolio’s lack of concern about protocols to contain the spread of the virus prompted complaints among employees themselves.

The text announced by Queiroga, however, has not yet been published. In October, an ordinance already determined the use of protection, which was not being complied with even by Pazuello and his assistants. This text also stated that “professional” masks, such as the disposable or N95 models, should be a priority only for professionals who work in patient care. Queiroga himself, however, has used more reinforced protection in government meetings or when attending to the press.

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