Brazilian soldiers disinfect a train wagon at the central station in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: AFP)
A federal court in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday banned the government from disseminating propaganda against confinement measures aimed at controlling the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday night, President Jair Bolsonaro shared a video on Facebook showing a caravan of vehicles celebrating the reopening of businesses and schools in the southern state of Santa Catarina.
His son and senator Flavio Bolsonaro also shared on Facebook a government campaign with the slogan: "Brazil cannot stop."
That provoked the attorney general's office to petition the federal court to stop that campaign.
The campaign video encourages people not to stop their normal lives, despite health ministry figures claiming that COVID-19 has claimed almost 100 lives and affected close to 3,500 people in Brazil.
The court also ordered people linked to the government to "stop sharing or fomenting the spread of information that is not strictly founded on scientific evidence."
Judge Laura Bastos Carvalho gave the government 24 hours to publish an official statement explaining that its "Brazil cannot stop" campaign does not adhere to scientific criteria and therefore cannot be followed.
It was the second court blow for Bolsonaro in as many days.
On Friday, Rio's federal court blocked a decree by the president that exempted places of worship from coronavirus confinement orders.
"Churches and other places of worship lead to large crowds and the movement of people," wrote Judge Marcio Santoro Rocha of the Duque de Caxias court.