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'Deprived of freedom'
Famed Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli says people should refuse to wear masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bocelli says he was diagnosed with the coronavirus earlier this year.
What are the details?
This week, Bocelli, who lives in Italy, blasted the Italian government for mandating the wearing of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to a Newsweek report.
The Associated Press reported that the tenor made the remarks on Monday in a Senate conference room in Rome, ahead of the government's decision to extend the current pandemic state of emergency.
The original order expired July 31, but the Italian government decreed an extension of the state of emergency through October.
In his remarks, Bocelli, 61, said that the rules were "humiliating," and left him "offended."
"I could not leave the house even though I had committed no crime," Bocelli said at the time.
He insisted that the draconian lockdown measures "deprived [him] of freedom."
"I need the sun," he reasoned. "I am a certain age and I need sun and vitamin D."
He slammed masks, and insisted that nobody should be forced to wear them.
"Let's refuse to follow this [mask] rule," he said. "Let's read books, move around, get to know each other, talk, dialogue."
Bocelli said that he had only mild symptoms from the infection, and was lucky to be fully healed from the virus and its effects by late March.
"We were fortunate enough to have a swift and full recovery by the end of March," he said.
'I haven't known anybody who ended up in intensive care'
Bocelli also pointed out that none of the people he personally knows suffered dire or life-threatening symptoms.
"I know a lot of people, but I haven't known anybody who ended up in intensive care," he said. "Nobody. So what was all this sense of gravity for?"
On Tuesday, Health Ministry Undersecretary Pierpaolo Sileri said Bocelli aired his grievances in an attempt to "express the inconvenience of every Italian who, because of lockdown, stayed home."
"I wouldn't have said those words, but I imagine he'll be able to explain it somehow," Sileri added.
At the time of this writing, researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimate that there have been at least 246,488 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy. There have been at least 35,123 deaths attributed to the deadly viral infection.
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