Coronavirus

Bolsonaro backpedals on anti-mask statements

mask use bolsonaro rules
President Jair Bolsonaro and First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

President Jair Bolsonaro reaffirmed that the Health Ministry is analyzing whether to waive the mask-use requirements by vaccinated citizens or those who have already been infected with Covid-19. However, he added that state governors and city mayors will have the choice on whether to change the rules. 

“Those who have been infected or vaccinated do not have to wear masks. [Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga] will make a decision about it. However, the ones who actually have the final word are governors and mayors, I have no say on the matter,” the president told the press, erroneously insisting that the Supreme Court has prevented the federal government from acting with regards to the pandemic. 

After the president vented the possibility of mask-use exemptions on Thursday, health experts reacted angrily, saying the measure could lead to the rise of new variants and boost the number of cases and deaths even further. Brazil is inching closer to the 500,000-death mark and only 11 percent of Brazilians are fully vaccinated.