President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil announced on Thursday that the health minister was working on a bill that would eliminate the need for face masks for persons who have been vaccinated or previously afflicted with the coronavirus.
Despite having the world’s second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak, Bolsonaro has rejected lockdowns and social isolation, saying in a speech that quarantines should only be used for diseased people.
“They are useful for infected people,” he remarked, adding, “Quarantines are for infected people.”
Bolsonaro has requested research on the usage of masks in Brazil, according to Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga.
However, the minister told a Senate body of inquiry this week that masks should be worn to avoid transmission. He also disagreed with Bolsonaro on the usage of hydroxychloroquine, claiming that there is no proof that the anti-malaria medicine is useful in treating COVID-19 patients.
Bolsonaro defended the use of chloroquine in a weekly webcast to his supporters, claiming that it had helped cut COVID-19 mortality in Brazil, which he said had been exaggerated by include deaths from other ailments.
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of almost 480,000 Brazilians, the second-highest death toll outside of the United States.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s immunization program has been reluctant to get off the ground, and a Senate investigation is looking into whether Bolsonaro, a vaccine skeptic, delayed acquiring timely supplies on purpose.
According to health ministry data, only 23.6 percent of Brazil’s population has got the first dosage, and just 10.2 percent has received two doses.