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#COVID19: Judge Orders Brazilian President, Bolsonaro To Wear A Face Mask In Public Or Be Fined

 

A federal judge in Brazil has ordered President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a face mask when circulating in the capital, Brasília.

The president has sparked outrage by repeatedly flouting measures designed to slow the advance of a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 50,000 Brazilians.

The rightwing populist has made a succession of public appearances – at protests, shops and even a floating barbecue – wearing a mask incorrectly, or not at all.

Judge Renato Borelli ordered Bolsonaro, who has famously compared the new coronavirus to a “little flu,” to stop ignoring the capital city’s mask decree, or face a fine of 2,000 reals ($390).

The Judge said: “The president has a constitutional obligation to follow the laws in force in the country, as well as to promote the general welfare of the people, which means taking the necessary measures to protect citizens’ right to health.”

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“No one, not even the head of the executive, is above the constitution and laws of the republic,” the judge concluded.

Bolsonaro made no immediate comment on the ruling.

The decision also applies to Bolsonaro’s cabinet and staff.

The case was brought by a lawyer who said the president should be held to account for his “irresponsible behavior.”

Masks have been mandatory in public in Brasilia since April to curb the spread of the virus.

Bolsonaro regularly breaks the social distancing measures in place in the capital, giving handshakes and hugs at rallies by his supporters, hosting barbecues, hitting the shooting range and going out for hotdogs, generally without a mask.

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Brazil has the second-highest COVID-19 death toll in the world, after the United States, at more than 51,000.

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