Anvisa lifts mask mandate for planes and airports

mask mandate planes airports
Passenger at the Florianópolis airport, in southern Brazil. Photo: Divina Epiphania/Shutterstock

Brazil’s federal health regulator Anvisa on Wednesday lifted its mask mandate for passengers on flights and in airports. The Covid-era mandate had been in effect since December 2020.

According to Anvisa’s Deputy Director Daniela Marreco, the current epidemiological scenario justifies ending the mandate. At the time that facemasks were made compulsory on planes and in airports, Brazil had an average of 746 Covid deaths per day — compared with 214 today.

When the mask mandate began, vaccination had not yet started in Brazil. Now, around 80 percent of the population is jabbed, and almost half — over 101 million Brazilians — have taken a booster shot.

The new decision also takes into account regulation changes in other countries. For example, in France, the U.S., and the United Kingdom, masks are no longer required in planes and airports.

Ms. Marreco added that facemasks helped slow the spread of Covid, but understands that this “once collective health measure is now an individual protection measure”.

The new regulation has one legacy from the beginning of the pandemic: airlines are to maintain row-by-row disembarkation.