Brazil’s most populous state lifts mask mandate for open-air spaces

Sao Paulo, Mar 9 (EFE).- Sao Paulo, Brazil’s wealthiest and most populous state, on Wednesday lifted its mask mandate for open-air settings effective immediately.

In making that move, which comes at a time when the number of coronavirus cases and deaths has stabilized, the state government followed the lead of Brazilian cities such as Rio de Janeiro.

The rule change was announced Wednesday by Gov. Joao Doria, who said people no longer need to wear masks on the street or in parks, stadiums or open spaces at schools and other settings.

But unlike Rio de Janeiro, face coverings still will be required in closed spaces such as classrooms, offices and theaters.

Brazil has been one of the countries hardest hit by Covid-19 worldwide, having registered the second-highest number of deaths (653,000) after only the United States and the third-highest number of confirmed cases (29.1 million) after the US and India.

Sao Paulo alone, a state with 46 million inhabitants, has reported 165,500 Covid-19 deaths and 5 million confirmed coronavirus cases.

The decision was justified on the grounds of falling infection rates and high rates of vaccination, according to Doria, who noted that 74 percent of the adult population in Sao Paulo state has already received at least two doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

“If Sao Paulo were a country, it would be the world’s third-most vaccinated population,” said the governor, who gave the press conference outdoors and without a mask. EFE


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