February 5, 2020 / 11:58 AM / 13 days ago

Brazil's lower house of Congress approves coronavirus quarantine bill

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s lower house of Congress late on Tuesday approved a bill laying out rules for the quarantine of Brazilian nationals returning from China who may be infected with coronavirus, as well as other measures to combat the disease.

The measures will be in force as long as the public health emergency declared by the World Health Organization is in place.

Also on Tuesday, Brazil obtained authorization from China to fly two planes to the city of Wuhan at the center of the new coronavirus outbreak to evacuate Brazilian citizens who asked to be repatriated.

Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo said two 36-seat Embraer C-190 planes flown by the Brazilian Air Force will leave on Wednesday morning and arrive in Wuhan on Friday after refueling stops en route.

Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo said 29 people, including four family members who are Chinese nationals, would be evacuated, as well other Brazilians who live outside Wuhan.

The passengers, medical staff and the crew of the planes will be quarantined for 18 days at an Air Force base in Anapolis, 150 kilometers (93 miles) west of the capital Brasilia.

Reporting by Eduardo Simoes and Anthony Boadle; Writing by Jamie McGeever in Brasilia; Editing by Philippa Fletcher

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