News ID: 278324
Published: 0808 GMT December 19, 2020

Chilean president handed $3,500 fine for mask-less selfie with stranger on beach

Chilean president handed $3,500 fine for mask-less selfie with stranger on beach
EDGARD GARRIDO/REUTERS
Chile's President Sebastian Pinera

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera was slapped with a $3,500 fine after posing for a selfie on the beach with a bystander without wearing a mask as required during the coronavirus pandemic, health authorities said.

Chile has strict rules on mask wearing in all public places and violations are punishable with sanctions that include fines and even jail terms, according to Reuters.

Pinera apologized then turned himself in shortly after the selfie surfaced on social media in early December.

The president explained he had been walking alone along the beach near his home in the posh Chilean seaside town of Cachagua when a woman recognized him and asked for a photo together.

The selfie shows the president and the woman, neither wearing masks.

The virus peaked in Chile in May and June, during the southern hemisphere winter, then subsided through November. Cases are on the rise again, however, prompting new restrictions and quarantines.

Chile has reported 581,135 cases of the virus since the outbreak began in March, and 16,051 deaths from the disease.

   
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