Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro Thursday announced the end to the mandatory use of face masks as a protective measure against the coronavirus for people who have been either vaccinated or who have already recovered from covid-19.
Bolsonaro made his decision despite the Supreme Court's ruling that special protocols be observed during the upcoming Copa America football tournament which kicks off in Brasilia this coming Sunday. The President also announced Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga was going to be in charge of releasing the final details on how the measure is to be implemented.
Bolsonaro's antimask stance is not new. He maintains the mask should be mandatory only for people infected with the disease. In July 2020, during one of the critical phases of the pandemic, he vetoed an article of a law that requires the use of a mask in public spaces. And in May this year, he was fined for gathering a maskless crowd in Maranhao state.
Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria has already warned he would fine Bolsonaro in case he participates in public events without the mask that is mandatory in that state.
Bolsonaro is accused of being a denier of the coronavirus crisis and a Parliamentary Committee (CPI) is investigating his handling of the pandemic, some say intending to advance his impeachment.
Senator Humberto Costa, a doctor and a member of the CPI, has warned the country will “probably” go through a new wave of covid-19 once the Copa America begins next Sunday at the Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia.
Hours before the STF vote in favour of the championship, the president charged against the media for the way they treat his Public Health policy, especially for having delayed the purchase of vaccines.
The press is attacking me, saying that I ignored 70 emails about the purchase of vaccines. Name only one country in the world that bought vaccines last year. Only one ... but they keep pounding that Bolsonaro ignored 68 emails, it seems a joke, he asserted.
According to several press reports, the government did not respond to dozens of emails sent by the Pfizer laboratory and the Butantan Institute, which makes Coronavac immunizers, proposing the sale of vaccines in 2020. The Pfizer laboratory also reportedly approached the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, but to no avail, before the government signed the first contract for the purchase of 100 million Pfizer vaccines in March of this year, after which a second agreement was reached for another 100 million units, of which 8 million have already arrived in Brazil.