Food (in)security in Brazil in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

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Abstract

The international spread of the new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 has led interruption of the population’s daily activities, due to the need for social distancing in order to slow the dissemination of the disease, which has reached 190 countries in four months, including Brazil 1. The main signs and symptoms of the virus are fever, cough, and difficulty breathing 2. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain have also been reported for COVID-19, as well as infections with other coronaviruses 3. Transmission is generally airborne or by person-to-person contact, through droplets of saliva, sneezes, coughs, and secretions that can contaminate hands and surfaces 2. In the attempt to slow the virus’s spread, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the main health agencies in Brazil have recommended that individuals practice hand hygiene, cover the mouth with the bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing, avoid crowds, and maintain home isolation for 14 days in case of disease symptoms 4. People are also encouraged to remain in well-ventilated environments 5, and companies and public institutions are urged to consider home office work, online meetings, and travel curtailment. In Brazil, efforts in this initial stage of the epidemic have focused on confronting SARS-CoV-2, especially avoiding its spread 6 while allowing healthcare for serious cases. However, another emerging side of the epidemic involves food security. Italy, Spain, and Portugal, already under quarantine, have developed initiatives to avoid crowding that have impacted the food chain. In these countries, most restaurants and bars are closed, and supermarkets have adopted rules for access and purchase of food products in order to avoid shortages.

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Oliveira, T. C., Abranches, M. V., & Lana, R. M. (2020). Food (in)security in Brazil in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Cadernos de Saude Publica, 36(4). https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311X00055220

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