Jair Bolsonaro faces growing public pressure and a Senate investigation into his treatment of the coronavirus pandemic.
Brazilian far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, a skeptical COVID-19 who has refused to take public health measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, has been fined for failing to comply with health safety regulations at a public event in the state of Maranhao.
State Governor Flavio Dino said Friday afternoon that health authorities had filed the case against Bolsonaro “for promoting Maranhao’s meetings without health guarantees.”
“The law applies to everyone,” Dino tweeted, reminding the audience that meetings of more than 100 people are prohibited and that masks are mandatory.
The president’s office has 15 days to appeal, and then the amount of the fine will be set. The office did not respond to requests for comment from the AFP news agency.
Bolsonaro has he remained defiant in the face of widespread criticism of his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, rejecting calls to impose a national shutdown to try to curb the spread of the virus.
On Friday, Bolsonaro handed over rural property titles to Acailandia, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Sao Luis, the state capital of Maranhao. During the event, the maskless president criticized Dino as a “chubby dictator” for the imposition of coronavirus restrictions by the governor.
There are more than 446,000 people he died due to the coronavirus in Brazil, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the second highest total in the world after the United States.
To date, more than 15.9 million cases have also been reported by public health experts warned that another wave might be imminent.
The Brazilian Senate last month initiated an investigation on how Bolsonaro and his government have responded to the crisis, accumulating political pressure on the former army captain ahead of next year’s elections.
On Friday, the senator leading the investigation alleged that Bolsonaro never wanted to buy vaccines against COVID-19, but bet that the herd’s immunity could beat the virus.
In an interview with Reuters news agency, Senator Renan Calheiros said: “The president first denied the disease, called it the flu and then argued against social isolation and blockade. He then downplayed the use. of masks and encouraged the crowds to gather ”.
“Why this? Because of the herd’s immunity, natural immunity … the crowd and the spread of the virus need to be encouraged,” Calheiros said. “That’s why he never wanted a vaccine.”
Bolsonaro’s office did not respond to a request for Reuters comments on the allegation.
Brazil approved two coronavirus shots – Chinese SinoVac and British AstraZeneca – for emergency use in January, but its vaccine deployment has been affected by delays and a lack of supply.
As of May 18, only one in eight Brazilian adults had been completely vaccinated, Reuters said.
Public health officials dit earlier this week, they hoped to receive enough vaccine ingredients from China to manufacture up to 25 million doses.