Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was fined $100 Saturday for violating Covid-19 containment measures in Sao Paulo state by failing to wear a face mask and provoking huge crowds at a motorcycle rally for supporters.
Thousands of roaring motorcycles took part in the “Accelerate for Christ” rally in Sao Paulo, led by the far-right president, who wore an open-faced helmet and no mask, in violation of state health regulations.
Bolsonaro, who has been holding such rallies across Brazil as he gears up to seek re-election next year, defied a prior warning from Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, a political rival, who had said the president would be fined if he failed to observe state regulations.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly clashed with Doria and other governors over measures against Covid-19, which has claimed nearly 485,000 lives in Brazil, second only to the United States.
The president regularly criticizes stay-at-home measures and face masks, instead touting medications such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine despite studies showing they are ineffective against Covid-19.
Addressing a giant crowd of flag-waving supporters, Bolsonaro renewed his comments against face masks, saying he planned to order mask requirements be lifted for people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
“Anyone who’s against that doesn’t believe in science. There’s no way a vaccinated person can transmit the virus,” he said.
In fact, there is little scientific consensus yet on whether vaccinated individuals risk spreading the coronavirus. Public health officials have generally urged them to continue wearing masks in risky situations.
State officials said they had fined Bolsonaro, his congressman son, Eduardo, and Infrastructure Minister Tarcisio Gomes for failing to wear masks and observe social distancing measures at the rally.
Each was fined 552.71 reais, or about $108.
The president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.