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Brazil journalists sue COVID-19 positive Bolsonaro for removing mask by them

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  • A consortium of Brazilian journalists are suing President Jair Bolsonaro after he removed his mask near them during a televised press conference on Tuesday.
  • At that press conference, Bolsonaro had announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus earlier that day.
  • Footage shows Bolsonaro stepping back from the reporters after speaking to them, removing his microphone, and taking off his mask to show his face.
  • The Brazilian Press Association (ABI) said later on Tuesday that it will sue Bolsonaro in the Supreme Court for “endangering” journalists.
  • “Despite knowing he was infected with COVID-19, President Jair Bolsonaro continues to act in a criminal manner and endanger the lives of others,” the group said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

An association of Brazilian journalists is suing President Jair Bolsonaro after he removed his mask near them while giving a statement on his coronavirus infection.

On Tuesday, Bolsonaro told journalists from TV Brasil, CNN, and TV Record that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was taking the controversial treatment hydroxychloroquine.

A the end of the statement, Bolsonaro took a few steps back, took off his microphone, and took off his mask to wave and smile to the cameras.

You can see the footage here:

The Brazilian Press Association (ABI) said later on Tuesday that it will sue Bolsonaro in the Supreme Court for “endangering” journalists, the Latin American Herald Tribune reported, citing ABI president Paulo Jeronimo de Sousa.

“Despite knowing he was infected with COVID-19, President Jair Bolsonaro continues to act in a criminal manner and endanger the lives of others,” de Sousa said.

De Sousa said Bolsonaro broke Article 131 and Article 132 of the penal code, which prohibit transmitting a disease to someone else and exposing others to danger respectively.

Bolsonaro also “broke the isolation recommended by the doctors,” de Sousa said. Health authorities around the world have urged people who test positive for the coronavirus, or who experience coronavirus symptoms, to self-isolate for at least seven days.

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro adjusts his mask as he leaves Alvorada Palace, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brasilia, Brazil May 13, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY/File Photo

Bolsonaro seen in Brasilia on May 13, 2020.

REUTERS/Adriano Machado


The gesture is symbolic of Bolsonaro’s reluctance to take the coronavirus seriously.

He has called the virus “a little flu” and said of his country’s mortality rate that “death is everyone’s destiny.

Meanwhile, Brazil is one of the worst-hit countries in the world.

As of Wednesday 1.7 million people have contracted the virus, and 68,000 have died, according to a tracker from the Globo news outlet.

The government has sought to reduce the amount of information about new cases available to the public, and is pressing ahead with an end to lockdown despite astronomically high numbers of daily new cases.  

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