Rio de Janeiro, May 3 (efe-epa).- The famous Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro “wore” a mask projected onto its face on Sunday to raise awareness of the importance of their use during the coronavirus epidemic, which continues its spread in Brazil.
The country’s largest tourist symbol was closed to the public in mid-March, but since then the imposing figure has served to display messages in solidarity of health workers and other countries hit by COVID-19.
This time, Christ the Redeemer, located on the top of Corcovado mountain, 710 meters above sea level, appeared to wear a mask that covered his mouth and nose.
On his stone body a red heart, also covered with a mask, was projected with “Mascara Salva” (masks save) written underneath.
The initiative is part of a campaign promoted by Brazilian specialists to combat the pandemic and which highlights among its main messages the “importance of everyone protecting themselves when leaving home” by wearing masks.
“Once again the Christ the Redeemer is presented as the top symbol in the formation of a collective conscience for the preservation of life,” said the rector of the Sanctuary of Christ the Redeemer, Omar Raposo.
The state of Rio de Janeiro, the third most populous in Brazil with some 17 million residents, is one of the hardest hit in the country with 1,019 deaths and 11,139 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to Ministry of Health data released Sunday.
The epidemic continues to accelerate throughout Brazil, which has already recorded 7,025 deaths and 101,147 infections since Feb. 26, when the first case was reported in the country.
Authorities in some Brazilian cities, including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, have already decreed the mandatory use of masks in essential commercial establishments, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, and on the public transport network.
In addition, this weekend the main avenues of the city were painted with the message “Wear a Mask” in large white letters.
The capital of Rio de Janeiro holds around 60 percent of the cases and deaths reported in the entire state of Rio, the public health system of which is close to collapse.
For this reason, Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivella extended until May 15 the social isolation measures in force in the city. EFE-EPA