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Order for Brazil’s Bolsonaro to wear a mask dismissed

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 12, 2020 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wears a face mask as he arrives at the flag-raising ceremony before a ministerial meeting at the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. – Bolsonaro has very randomly complied with a decree in force in the Federal District of Brasilia that imposes the use of face masks “in all public places”, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. Brazilian judge Renato Borelli decided on June 22, 2020 that a fine of 2,000 reais (around 340 euros) would be imposed on the head of state if he appeared again in public without a protective mask. (Photo by EVARISTO SA / AFP)


A judge in Brazil on Tuesday dismissed a court ruling requiring President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a face mask in public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judge Daniele Maranhao Costa said the order was unnecessary since face masks are already mandatory in the capital Brasilia.

The attorney general’s office, which represents the government in legal matters, made precisely that argument in its appeal filed on Friday.

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Maranhao Costa, however, did not say whether the far-right president should or should not wear a mask, simply that the specific order concerning the president was redundant.

In his appeal, Bolsonaro simply asked to be treated as any other resident of the country’s federal capital, where mask use has been mandatory since April.

Breaking the rule can result in a fine of 2,000 reales — nearly $400 — and so far, the president has not been fined for failing to wear a mask.

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Bolsonaro has regularly broken the social distancing measures in place in the capital, giving handshakes and hugs at rallies, hosting barbecues, hitting the shooting range and going out for hot dogs, generally without a mask.

The president, who has famously compared the virus to a “little flu,” has railed against the measures state and local authorities are taking to fight it, arguing that business closures and stay-at-home measures are needlessly wrecking the economy.

However, since the first ruling on June 22, Bolsonaro has worn a mask at all public appearances.

Brazil has the second-highest COVID-19 death toll in the world after the United States, with nearly 60,000 deaths and 1.4 million confirmed cases.

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