Brazil's health minister said the government is concerned about the coronavirus variant first identified in India after the first cases of it were confirmed in the South American country. Marcelo Queiroga denied, however, that there was community transmission of the variant, which was first identified in Brazil in the northeastern state of Maranhao, where 100 people are being monitored.
A case was also confirmed Saturday in Ceara state. According to Queiroga, 600,000 rapid tests will be sent to Maranhao to monitor the variant's possible spread and he said health barriers would be implemented at airports, highways and roads in Maranhao to contain its movement. All passengers passing through airports or borders in the northeastern state will have to take the rapid test. Brazil suspended flights from India last week following the recommendation of the National Health Surveillance Agency.