- Title: Bolsonaro vetos law on obligatory face masks in Brazil
- Date: 3rd July 2020
- Summary: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (FILE - JUNE 26, 2020) (REUTERS) TORN BRAZILIAN FLAG WAVING VEHICLES AND PEDESTRIANS IN DOWNTOWN RIO DE JANEIRO STREET VENDORS AT WORK AMONG PEDESTRIANS RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (FILE - JUNE 28, 2020) (REUTERS) LOCAL WEARING FACE MASK THAT READS (Portuguese) "OUT WITH BOLSONARO"
- Embargoed: 17th July 2020 21:49
- Keywords: Brasilia Brazil COVID-19 President Jair Bolsonaro Rio de Janeiro Sao Paulo coronavirus face masks infections law veto
- Location: BRASILIA + RIO DE JANEIRO + SAO PAULO, BRAZIL / INTERNET
- City: BRASILIA + RIO DE JANEIRO + SAO PAULO, BRAZIL / INTERNET
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001CL9BJGN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday (July 3) vetoed parts of a law that would have made wearing a face mask obligatory in enclosed spaces where large groups gather, as swathes of Brazil struggle to tame new infections of the coronavirus.
Bolsonaro has regularly flouted social distancing guidelines advised by most health experts, shaking hands and embracing supporters. He has said publicly that his past as an athlete makes him immune to the worst symptoms of the virus.
He has also been widely criticised by health experts for downplaying the severity of the virus which he has dismissed as just "a little flu." Bolsonaro has pressured governors and mayors for months to reverse lockdown measures and reopen the economy.
Bolsonaro's veto comes as Brazil nears 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday. The virus continues to ravage Latin America's largest country even as cities reopen bars, restaurants and gyms sparking fears infections will keep rising.
Brazil has the world's second largest outbreak after the United States and the virus has killed over 60,000 people in the country.
In Rio alone, more than 6,600 people have died of COVID-19 in the past four months. Only 14 countries in the world have a death toll higher than the city. Intensive care units in public hospitals are at 70% capacity.
Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest and worst hit city, is expected to open bars and restaurants next week.
(Production: Sergio Queiroz, Leonardo Benassatto, Pablo Garcia, Leandra Camera, Paul Vieira)
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