City of Rio de Janeiro removes mandatory masks in closed places

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The Special Committee to Combat Covid-19 of the City of Rio de Janeiro recommended the end of the mandatory use of masks in closed places. The municipal secretary of health, Daniel Soranz, said that the city will comply with the recommendation and withdraw the mandatory face protection in these places. The decree will be published this Tuesday (8).

The information was confirmed by the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, in post on twitter. “Following the determinations of the Scientific Committee, a decree will be released tomorrow, ending the obligation to wear masks in open and closed spaces. With an effort to vaccinate those who can take a booster dose, in 3 weeks we also end up with the passport “, said the mayor.

The decision takes place during a meeting this Monday (7) at the Operations and Resilience Center (COR-Rio), in Cidade Nova, central region. Rio de Janeiro will be the first capital in the country to completely exempt the use of personal protective equipment against Covid-19.

Committee recommendations

Experts only recommend that personal protective equipment continue to be used for health professionals and schools. Until then, the recommendation, still in force, was only for the use to be compulsory exclusively in closed environments.

The scientific committee is a advisory body of the municipal structureformed by volunteers and has no decision-making power.

This Monday’s recommendation is the result of monitoring the indicators of Covid-19 carried out in the city. According to the Municipal Health Department, patients with the disease currently represent less than 1% of those hospitalized throughout the SUS network in the capital, which includes municipal, state, federal and private units.

For the president of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases and member of the commission that discusses the fight against coronavirus in Rio de Janeiro, Alberto Chebabo, the epidemiological scenario in the city is favorable for change.

“We already have the security to remove the mandatory mask for most of the population in the city of Rio de Janeiro, but we still recommend their use for the highest risk groups”, said Chebabo.

Rio has 83.8% of the total population with the second dose of the vaccine against the coronavirus, a rate that rises to 89.2% in the population over five years old, a range with authorization for the immunizer. In addition, it registers 42.3% of the total population with the booster dose.

Last week, the government of Rio de Janeiro had already released the use of masks in closed places. However, according to the understanding of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), amid differences of understanding, the most restrictive position is valid, which, at this moment, is that of the municipality. In the city, the vaccination passport requirement is still in force.

On Thursday (4), the city hall of Duque de Caxias, a city with a population of one million, in the Baixada Fluminense, followed the decision of the Guanabara Palace and also released the use of the equipment in the municipality.

It is worth remembering that the city of Rio has already eliminated the need for outdoor equipment since October last year.

According to the state government, the decision is based on the high vaccination coverage of the municipalities in Rio de Janeiro, which have already vaccinated at least 75% of the target audience with the three doses. In addition, the statement also points to a “low risk” for the disease and the lower presence of the Ômicron variant in the state.

According to a survey carried out by the CNN among the Brazilian capitals, of the 12 that responded, none intends to allow the use of the mask in closed places at this time.

The municipalities of Campo Grande (MS), São Paulo (SP), Recife (PE), Belo Horizonte (BH), Palmas (TO), Macapá (AP), Cuiabá (MT), Curitiba (PR), São Luiz (MA) ), Porto Velho (RO) and Goiânia (GO) prefer to wait for a more favorable scenario of the pandemic to discuss the flexibility of use.

In the open air, as in Rio, the mask is no longer charged in São Luiz, Goiânia, Belo Horizonte and Brasília. In São Paulo, the state government may announce a easing next Wednesday (9).

* Nathalia Teixeira, Lucas Janone and Pauline Almeida, from CNN, contributed to this report

Source: CNN Brasil

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