Rio could lift mask mandates next week

mask mandates Saens Pena Square in Rio. Photo: Tomaz Silva/ABr
Saens Pena Square in Rio. Photo: Tomaz Silva/ABr

Health officials in the city of Rio de Janeiro deem that vaccination levels are high enough to lift mask mandates in indoor spaces as early as next Monday, March 7. 

Health Secretary Daniel Soranz said the municipality does not expect a surge in Covid infections caused by Carnival celebrations. Even though traditional street parades were not allowed for a second consecutive year, many private parties still took place.

The state government of São Paulo is also expected to loosen mask mandates now that Carnival is over, although authorities have not established a timeline. 

Brazil recorded 22,078 Covid deaths in February — the highest since August of last year. But experts say most of the fatal victims of the coronavirus were unvaccinated or had serious pre-existing conditions which aggravated their Omicron infections.

So far, 72 percent of Brazilians have completed their initial vaccination schedule.