Andrea Bocelli Criticizes Masks, Social Distancing Rules

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Singer Andrea Bocelli is urging his fellow Italian citizens not to wear masks and to ignore social distancing guidelines established by health experts and the government to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Let's refuse to follow this rule,” he said at a gathering of right-wing politicians, according to media reports. “Let's read books, move around, get to know each other, talk, dialogue.”

The 61-year-old said he felt “humiliated and offended” by the government’s stay-at-home order and did “not think it was right or healthy to stay home at my age.” He added: “I could not leave the house even though I had committed no crime.”

Bocelli, who has an 8-year-old daughter with second wife Veronica Berti, 36, criticized the government’s plans for reopening schools. “It's unthinkable that these children will have to go to school divided by a piece of plexiglass and hidden behind a mask," he said. "It's unthinkable that schools were closed so quickly, and with the same speed nightclubs were reopened, where young people go not to learn, but to disperse their brains.”

The opera star said he believes the pandemic has been blown out of proportion by the government because he does not know anyone who was admitted to intensive care. “What was all this sense of gravity for?”

More than 35,000 people have died of COVID-19 complications in Italy, a country of around 60 million people. Currently, face masks and social distancing are mandatory in public spaces. Gatherings are limited to 200 people indoors and 1,000 outdoors.

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In May, Bocelli revealed in a Facebook post that he donated blood to help find a cure for COVID-19 after contracting the virus in March. “The pandemic which has shaken the world has also affected — albeit mildly — me and certain members of my family,” he wrote.

Bocelli said he had a fever but none of the more severe symptoms of the virus and that he and members of his family made “a swift and full recovery by the end of March.”

Bocelli’s latest comments, though, have been widely criticized on social media in his home country.

“If you don't know anyone who has been in intensive care and you'd like to instill the idea that the pandemic was science fiction, I introduce a friend of mine who had a lung transplant at 18 years old because of Covid,” tweeted Italian rapper Fedez. “Staying quiet every now and then doesn't hurt, huh?”

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