The footballer Gabriel Barbosa “Gabigol”, a player for Flamengo and the Brazilian team, was arrested at dawn this Sunday at a party with about 200 people in a clandestine casino in Sao Paulo despite the curfew in force in the largest city in Brazil to combat covid.
Gabigol was taken to a police station along with all the people surprised in the casino, among which the popular funk singer MC Gui, where they were registered and notified that they may be charged with crimes against public health before being released.
Commissioner Eduardo Brotero, responsible for the operation of the Civil Police, explained that all the people detained in the casino were released to avoid overcrowding within the police station itself but that some will be prosecuted for promoting illegal games of chance or for violating the restrictive measures imposed to stop the pandemic.
Casinos and bingo halls have been banned by law in Brazil for years.
The Sao Paulo police have had to disperse several clandestine parties, in some with up to 600 people, since the regional government imposed new restrictive measures to try to stop the spread of the pandemic, including a night curfew, the closure of bars and restaurants and the prohibition of events and parties that generate crowds.
According to the Police, most of the people surprised in the casino were without a mask, among which Gabigol, who won the gold medal with the Brazilian team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and was the scorer of the Brazilian League in 2018 and 2019, as well as the Copa Libertadores in 2019.
Brotero explained that the Civil Police discovered the clandestine casino after receiving an anonymous complaint about an agglomeration in a four-story building in an affluent neighborhood of Sao Paulo and that both police and health agents participated in the operation.
“When we got to the place, to our surprise, it was not a clandestine party but rather a clandestine casino, and a very large one, with many people crowded exposing themselves to contagion”, he recounted.
In Sao Paulo, the so-called red phase of the confinement plan is currently in force, the most restrictive, because the state, as well as Brazil, has been registering records of deaths and cases of covid in recent days.
Despite the restrictions, the police had to interrupt at dawn on Saturday a clandestine party with about 600 people in Capao Redondo, in the southern part of Sao Paulo.
Brazil, the current global epicenter of the covid pandemic, registered nearly 2,000 deaths from the disease on Saturday, bringing the average number of deaths in the last week to over 1,800 a day for the first time since the beginning of the crisis.
According to the Ministry of Health, Brazil accumulated 277,091 deaths and 11.4 million infections as of Saturday, making it the second country in the world with the most victims and cases of covid, only surpassed by the United States.
The high averages in recent days confirm that Brazil is currently suffering a second wave of the pandemic, more virulent and lethal than the first, partly caused by the circulation of new strains of the virus, among which the Brazilian variant that originated in the Amazon and that, according to researchers, is three times more contagious than the original.