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Wed Mar 25, 2020, 08:32 PM

Brazilian State Governors Defy Bolsonaro in Coronavirus Fight

2h ago
Simone Iglesias and Samy Adghirni, Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s state governors are upholding the social distancing measures they recently imposed, defying President Jair Bolsonaro’s plea for the population to resume their normal lives before too much damage is done to the economy.

The clash between states and the federal government started Tuesday night when Bolsonaro lashed out at the governors during a nationally televised speech, describing their decision to shut down shops and schools as a “scorched-earth policy” aimed at the next presidential election. The situation quickly deteriorated on Wednesday when they met during a video conference call in which barbs were exchanged and no consensus was found.

“We can resurrect the economy, but resurrect those who have already died is impossible,” Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel said after the meeting, repeating his call for people to “stay home.”

Underscoring the gravity of the situation, all 27 governors meet again on Wednesday, without the president, to discuss a joint strategy. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro said he would ask his health minister to change quarantine recommendations, ensuring they only apply to the elderly and those who are more at risk from a coronavirus infection.


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