SAO PAULO, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Organizers of clandestine parties will be held criminally liable for violating lockdown rules amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Secretary of Health of Brazil's southeast state of Sao Paulo, Jean Gorinchteyn, said Monday.
"We have fined and opened criminal complaints against organizers of parties of 1,000 people this past weekend. People will not only have civil liability but also criminal liability, because those parties put the health of the population at risk," Gorinchteyn said at a press conference.
Two public parks, Ibirapuera and Villa Lobos, were fined for having allowed more people to enter over the weekend than allowed by lockdown regulations in effect until Dec. 16, he said.
According to the official, a 17 percent rise in hospitalizations in the third week of November had to do with unauthorized events drawing crowds of people, especially young people.
"The irresponsibility of those who go to parties hurts those who have to work and we will not allow that," Gorinchteyn said.
Sao Paulo, the most populous state in Brazil, is the hardest hit by COVID-19 and where Latin America's first case of the disease was confirmed on Feb. 26.
Due to the pandemic, Sao Paulo and other states and cities in Brazil canceled traditional outdoor New Year's events and Carnival celebrations.