Rio de Janeiro and coronavirus: Brazil's Christ the Redeemer 'wears' mask

The famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro has 'worn" a mask projected onto its face to raise awareness of the importance of their use during the coronavirus epidemic, which continues its spread in Brazil.

The country's largest tourist symbol was closed to the public in mid-March, but since then the imposing figure has served to display messages in solidarity of health workers and other countries hit by COVID-19.

On Sunday, Christ the Redeemer - located on the top of Corcovado mountain, 710 metres above sea level - appeared to wear a mask that covered its mouth and nose.

On its stone body a red heart, also covered with a mask, was projected with "Mascara Salva" (Masks Save) written underneath.

The initiative is part of a campaign promoted by Brazilian specialists to combat the pandemic and which highlights among its main messages the "importance of everyone protecting themselves when leaving home" by wearing masks.

The state of Rio de Janeiro, the third most populous in Brazil with some 17 million residents, is one of the hardest hit in the country with 1019 deaths and 11,139 confirmed coronavirus cases.

The epidemic continues to accelerate throughout Brazil, which has already recorded 7025 deaths and 101,147 infections since February 26, when the first case was reported in the country.

The capital of Rio de Janeiro holds around 60 per cent of the cases and deaths reported in the entire state of Rio, the public health system of which is close to collapse.