Brazilian press group will sue Bolsonaro for taking off his mask

Photo by Adriano Machado/Reuters: Jair Bolsonaro at the press conference

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has shown how a national leader should not deal with the Coronavirus. Under his watch, he has ridiculed preventive measures, refused to act, and even vetoed aid to indigenous communities. Meanwhile Brazil lags behind only the United States in the number of infections and deaths. A growing number of the members of the nation’s cabinet are now testing positive. Bolsonaro has announced at a press conference that he too is infected. But there is no change in his dismissive dangerously attitude. The following article by Rodrigo Pedroso (CNN 8 July 2020), is about the response of media, after the president took of his mask, ignored distancing, and exposed them.

The association, known as ABI, alleged Bolsonaro did not respect the health safety distance from reporters, and took off his mask at Tuesday’s televised press conference in the capital Brasília, where he announced that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

ABI’s statement accuses Bolsonaro of endangering the lives of journalists who were present. “The country cannot watch continued behavior that is beyond irresponsible and constitutes clear crimes against public health, without reacting,” said the association’s president, Paulo Jeronimo de Souza.

Three TV stations — CNN Brasil, TV Record and TV Brasil — were present at the press conference. CNN Brasil reporter Leandro Magalhaes will be tested for the virus Wednesday and is working from home until he gets his result.

After Tuesday´s press conference, congressman Marcelo Freixo tweeted that he filed a lawsuit against Bolsonaro with the Federal Attorney’s Office. “The president violated Articles 131 and 132 of the Penal Code by removing his mask during the interview in which he announced that he has the coronavirus,” Freixo said.

Bolsonaro’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

In light of Bolsonaro’s diagnosis, ministers who recently had contact with the president have also been tested for Covid-19 over the past two days. Secretary of Government Luiz Eduardo Ramos, Regional Development Minister Rogério Marinho and Chief of Staff Braga Netto tested negative, according to the offices of each minister.

Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo, Defense Minister General Fernando Azevedo, and General Secretary of Government Jorge Oliveira, were also tested for the virus and are awaiting their results, according to their offices.

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