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Brazil's governors rise up against Bolsonaro's virus stance

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil's governors are defying President Jair Bolsonaro over his call to reopen schools and businesses, dismissing his argument that the “cure” of widespread shutdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus is worse than the disease.

Bolsonaro contends that the clampdown already ordered by many governors will deeply wound the already beleaguered economy and spark social unrest. In a nationally televised address Tuesday night, he urged governors to limit isolation only to high-risk people and lift the strict anti-virus measures they have imposed in their regions.

“What needs to be done? Put the people to work. Preserve the elderly, preserve those who have health problems. But nothing more than that,” said Bolsonaro, who in the past has sparked anger by calling the virus a “little flu.”

The country's governors protested on Wednesday that his instructions run counter to health experts' recommendations and endanger Latin America’s largest population. They said they would continue with their strict measures. The rebellion even included traditional allies of Brazil's far-right president.