Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stated Thursday (Jun. 10) he asked the Ministry of Health for a specialist report with a view to exempting vaccinated people and those who have contracted COVID-19 from having to wear a face mask.
“[The Health Ministry] will issue a report aiming to make wearing a mask no longer mandatory for those who have been vaccinated or have already been contaminated, in order to do away with this symbol, which obviously is still useful for those infected,” the president said during a ceremony at the Planalto presidential palace.
Mandatory mask use in public spaces, among other sanitary measures, is mandated in state and municipal decrees, by initiative of mayors and governors, in compliance with an ongoing ruling by the country’s Supreme Court.
According to epidemiologists, people who have been vaccinated or had the disease must continue wearing masks because, even immunized, they can still transmit the virus to other people. Making mask use no longer mandatory, specialists argue, is only recommendable after a country reaches a significant number of people fully vaccinated.
Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga stated on his social media Thursday evening he received the president’s request to conduct a study on making mask use more flexible. The progress of vaccination in the country is said to motivate the study.
“The president is really satisfied with the pace of vaccination in Brazil, the arrival of new doses, the distribution of over 100 million vaccine doses. The president has kept an eye on the international landscape and seen in other countries where the vaccination campaign has made strides, where people are making mask use flexible. The president asked me to do a study to assess the situation here in Brazil,” the minister said.
In Brazil, those vaccinated against COVID-19 with the two doses account for 11.06 percent of the total. In absolute figures, thus far, 109.294 million doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 have been sent to states. Of these, 71 million doses have been administered—49.5 million as the first dose, 21.46 million as the second.
In countries that have relaxed mask use rules, like the UK and Israel, the immunization campaign with both doses has surpassed 42.15 and 59.4 percent respectively, as per Our World Data, which specializes in publicizing research online.
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