Beaches are packed as Brazil reports record daily COVID-19 cases

What pandemic? Thousands of sun-seekers head to Rio de Janeiro beaches as Brazil reports record daily coronavirus cases

  • Beaches in Rio de Janeiro were filled with sunbathers at the weekend ahead of the start of the summer 
  • Many visitors failed to wear face masks to protect themselves from possible COVID-19 infections
  • Rio de Janeiro state has has been hit hard by the pandemic, reporting 406,820 cases and 24,473 deaths

The risk of catching COVID-19 did not deter sun-seekers from flocking to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro during the weekend ahead official start of the summer season on Monday.

Visitors and locals took to the city’s famous beaches, planting their beach umbrellas, chairs and coolers with no space between them.

Sunbathers on the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon were seen without face masks and failed to social distance, as is advised by the country’s health experts and leaders.

Ahead of the official start of summer Monday, sun-seekers flooded Rio de Janeiro’s beaches this weekend. People are seen on Leblon beach on Saturday

People take a shower during their visit to Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday a day before the official start of summer

Sun-seekers play with a soccer ball at Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday

A couple takes a selfie as they enjoy Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday

Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was completely packed as sun-seekers flooded the beach Sunday, the day before the beginning of the summer season 

Thousands of people crowd on Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday

As of Monday, Brazil had reported 7,238,600 infections, the third highest number in the world only behind the United States and India. The 186,764 coronavirus deaths are second highest.

On Saturday, Brazil reported a record 50,177 new COVID-19 cases and 706 deaths.

Rio de Janeiro has recorded 406,820 cases and 24,473 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

In Rio de Janeiro, face masks are required to be worn in public areas at all times. Authorities have issued 8,256 citations to rule-breakers since June 5, right before the city government eased restrictions on beach gatherings.

The beginning of summer in Brazil brought out thousands of beachgoers, including a trio of friends who kicked around a soccer ball a few feet away from the water

Visitors at Ipanema Beach play with a soccer ball on Sunday. Rio de Janeiro’s beaches were flooded with thousands of locals and tourists

People take a shower on Ipanema Beach, in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, a day after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said the rush to purchase the COVID-19 vaccine and its distribution is not justified and insisted that the pandemic is coming to an end in Brazil

The start of the beach season in Rio de Janeiro, which attracts international visitors as well, comes as a time when President Jair Bolsonaro continues to play down the dangers that the coronavirus presents, even after he was infected with the virus in July.

Bolsonaro, who has refused to take any coronavirus vaccine, said on Saturday that he did not think the world’s rush for a vaccine was justified because the epidemic is in his view coming to an end.

New coronavirus cases have not indicated the pandemic is ending. In recent days, several countries including Brazil have reported record numbers of daily cases.

Beachgoers take in the sun and bathe at Leblon Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. Many visitors were seen not wearing face masks

Ipanema Beach was one of the many beaches in Brazil that were filled to the max Sunday, a day before the start of summer in a nation that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic

‘The pandemic is really reaching its end, the numbers have showed this, we are dealing with small rises now,’ said Bolsonaro. ‘But the rush for the vaccine is not justified because you are playing with people’s lives.’

Pfizer has reported it has faced problems in having the vaccine approved for use in Brazil.   

The Supreme Court said Thursday that Brazilians could be ‘required, but not forced’ by civil authorities to be vaccinated. 

The specific enforcement mechanisms allowed by the order were not immediately clear, but Supreme Court Justice Ricardo Lewandowski wrote in the majority ruling that individuals refusing to take vaccines could face sanctions, such as the inability to partake in certain activities or to frequent certain locations. 

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