Brazilian governors reject president’s reopening plan

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The governors of nine of Brazil’s 26 states and of the federal district of the capital, Brasilia, have announced that they will not follow President Jair Bolsonaro’s instructions to reopen beauty salons, barbershops and sports academies, local media reported.

Bolsonaro on Monday issued a decree adding the three sectors to 54 other “essential services” which are allowed to function despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“These three categories together provide more than one million jobs,” the news portal G1 late Monday quoted the president as saying.

The Supreme Court, however, has left it to the states and municipalities to decide on health measures to combat the pandemic.

Bolsonaro’s decree “does not ALTER IN ANYTHING the state decree currently in force in Ceara,” the state’s Gov. Camilo Santana tweeted.

He added that beauty salons, barbershops and sports academies “must remain closed.”

Brasilia federal district Gov. Ibaneis Rocha said construction and industrial sectors could function, but that he would listen to experts who advised against reopening the three services promoted by Bolsonaro, according to G1.

Bahia Governor Rui Costa said his state would “ignore the new instructions from the federal government.”

Brazil’s far-right president has downplayed the pandemic, putting himself on a collision course with many mayors and governors who have adopted strict measures against it.

Brazil has recorded 177,589 COVID-19 cases, the largest number in Latin America. More than 12,000 people have died.

According to the latest data from the Brazilian health ministry on Tuesday, the number of people who died from the novel coronavirus in a 24-hour period in the country passed 800 for the first time between Monday and Tuesday.