Brazil once again imposed the mandatory use of masks in airports and planes due to a resurgence of COVID-19

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The National Health Surveillance Agency announced the measure in one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in the world: it accumulates almost 690,000 deaths and more than 35 million infections

Brazil once again imposed the mandatory use of masks in airports and planes due to a resurgence of COVID-19

A guard applies disinfectant gel to a woman and her daughter, while other citizens in Brasilia (Brazil)

The masks will once again be mandatory at airports and flights from Brazil as of next Friday, due to a rebound in covid-19 infections, according to a new order imposed by the health authorities.

The use of masks ceased to be mandatory last August, but has been imposed again due to “current epidemiological data, which indicate an increase in the number of covid-19 cases in the Brazilian population”, according to a statement from the National Health Surveillance Agency(Anvisa) published on Tuesday night.

Brazil has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in the world, accumulating up to now almost 690,000 deaths and more than 35 million infections, and in recent weeks there has been a strong rebound in infections.

Brazil once again imposed the mandatory use of masks in airports and planes due to a resurgence of COVID-19

Passengers with masks at the airport de Guarulhos, São Paulo (REUTERS/Roosevelt Cassio)

According to the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass), in the first twenty days of November the number of infections exceeded 95,000, with an increase of 292% compared to the previous month.

The number of deaths, however, has not increased in the same proportion, but has remained at an average of 45 per day in the last two weeks.

The increase in cases has been attributed by scientific institutions to a relaxation of vaccination in recent months.

President Jair Bolsonaro, a denier of the seriousness of the pandemic, She is proud of not having been vaccinated and has been one of the main voices in Brazil against immunization.

Brazil once again imposed the mandatory use of masks in airports and planes due to a resurgence of COVID-19

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

According to official data, of the 213 million Brazilians, so far only 49.2% have the full vaccination schedule.

On the other hand, Bolsonaro's Liberal Party (PL) on Tuesday asked the Brazilian electoral justice system to annul the votes of some 280,000 ballot boxes used in the run-off on October 30, alleging alleged errors that would have given Lula victory over the current president.

“It is required that the respective votes to the electronic ballot boxes in which irreparable discrepancies in operation were verified be invalidated and that the practical and legal consequences due in relation to the result of the second round of the elections be determined,” the PL said in the complaint. signed by the lawyer Marcelo Bessa and addressed to the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE).

Bolsonaro's party alleges a “malfunction” of five ballot box models, allegedly demonstrated in a technical report by the Legal Vote Institute, hired by the formation itself, which “would jeopardize the transparency of the electoral process”.

The president of the TSE, Alexandre de Moraes, responded to the application questioning that the ballot boxes challenged were used both in the ballot run and in the first round of October 2.

“Under penalty of rejection (of the application ), the author must add a request for both rounds of the elections to be covered, within a period of 24 hours,” Moraes said in his decision.

The complaint refers to some 280,000 ballot boxes used in the elections and that correspond to models prior to 2020.

“The inconsistencies do not allow the voter's vote to be verified. This does not mean that there was fraud, but rather that there is no guarantee that the ballot boxes are credible,” Bessa said at a press conference in Brasilia and assured that Lula had an advantage of close to five points in the old ballot box models, greater than the result official 50.9% against 49.1%.

With the annulment of the votes from questioned ballot boxes, Bolsonaro's party maintains that the current president would obtain re-election “with 51, 05% of the valid votes against 48.95% for Lula.”

Bolsonaro has remained practically silent since losing his re-election by a narrow margin of 2.1 million votes before the leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

(With information from AFP and EFE)

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