Judge suspends vaccine passports in Rio de Janeiro, declaring them ‘divisive’

The city’s vaccine pass had been in effect since September 15. Anyone hoping to visit communal facilities, such as gyms, museums and tourist venues, has been required to show proof of vaccination.

“The decree [to implement vaccine passports] divides society into two types: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, preventing the unvaccinated from circulating freely,” Judge Paulo Rangel said.

Rangel described the decree as “tyrannical,” saying it seeks to “control people” by dictating “who walks and does not walk in the streets of the city.”

Rio’s vaccine pass system was introduced under Mayor Eduardo Paes. The municipal government has said that it will fight the suspension in the Supreme Federal Court.

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Without mentioning the suspension directly, Mayor Paes also tweeted: “Sometimes I wonder how some people can accept that smoking is banned in the office, mall, subway… and also accept that the use of seat belts is mandatory! Do these people not feel restricted in their individual freedoms? Just to reflect….”

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Some form of vaccine passport is in place in more than 200 other towns and cities across Brazil, including in the country’s biggest city, Sao Paulo. Each regional authority decides on its own regulations.

Over half a million Brazilians have died in the pandemic — the highest death toll in the world after the United States. Nevertheless, President Jair Bolsonaro has long downplayed the severity of Covid-19, battling lockdown restrictions and criticizing the idea of vaccine passports.

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