March 20, 2020

Brazil Responds to COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency with Act No. 356/2020


On March 12, 2020, the Brazilian government published Act No. 356/2020, which provides for the regulation and implementation of measures to deal with the COVID-19 coronavirus as a public health emergency.


Studies suggest that the virus, which causes serious respiratory infections, is spread by respiratory droplets discharged by coughing or sneezing. Transmission can occur through direct contact, for example, by shaking hands, or indirectly by touching the mouth, nose or eyes after touching a contaminated surface or object.

The Declaration of World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Importance on January 30, 2020. The Brazilian government, in Act No. 188/GM/ MS, declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of National Importance on February 4, 2020, and, in Law 13,979/2020, established measures to deal with the emergency. 

Act No. 356/2020 provides for the regulation and implementation of the measures in article 3 of Law 13,979/2020.

Details of Act No. 356/2020

The main measures of the act and their requirements are:

1)  Isolation[1]:

a.  The need for isolation must be determined by a health surveillance agent.[2]

b.  The preference for taking the isolation measure at home, which can also be done in public or private hospitals, as recommended by a doctor. 

c.  After the medical determination of the need for isolation, the patient must sign a Free and Explained Consent Form in which the patient declares that he or she was duly informed by the doctor of the need for isolation during the stipulated number of days, as well as of the possible consequences of not complying with this measure.

2)  Quarantine[3]:

a.  The need for a quarantine must be determined through a formal and motivated administrative act, edited by the competent entity, published in the Union Official Journal and widely disseminated by the media.

3)  Violation of the isolation and quarantine measures:

a.  The violator may be held accountable, as provided by law.

b.  Doctors and health surveillance agents must report violations to the authorities and the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

4)  The request of assets and services from an individual or company:

a.  The determination of need must be made by the competent authority of the corresponding administrative sphere.

b.  The individual or company proving the goods or services must be fairly compensated.

It is important to notice that TCMB has already prepared an infographic with several information about the biological crisis caused by the coronavirus, such as: the means of transmission, symptoms, workplace protection measures, employee’s obligations and measures against coronavirus - Law 13,979/2020. You can access the material here.

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