July 14, 2020

Guatemala adds 176 new cases of COVID-19 and toughens curfew


The President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, ordered new containment measures on Thursday after informing the population of 176 new infections of coronavirus, the highest daily number since the first case was detected on March 13.

Giammattei decreed a curfew that prohibits going out on the streets Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of May, so that the population can only mobilize from Monday to Thursday.

The provision came into effect from this Thursday, so Guatemalans will be able to travel again until Monday at five in the morning, although it is allowed to attend “grocery stores and neighborhood stores” for three hours in the morning, walking and not in vehicle.

The president also detailed that the curfew will now be from five in the afternoon to five in the morning, modifying the provision that was in force from six in the afternoon to four in the morning.

Giammattei announced the measures on Thursday after specifying that in the last 24 hours there were no deaths from COVID-19 and that in total 1,518 cases have been detected, 1,358 of them still active.

The 64-year-old doctor and surgeon, invested last January, said that “compared to the previous week” the number of infections “was almost tripled.”

THREE DAYS FOR SHOPPING

Giammattei explained this Thursday that local markets and supermarkets may only open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, so that Guatemalans can make their essential purchases.

The president also pointed out that tightening confinement measures was a “difficult decision”, especially closing the country from Thursday to Monday.

“Without health, life is not possible and the economy is not possible. I hope everyone agrees with me,” said Giammattei.

Guatemala broke the barrier of one hundred daily coronavirus infections with 143 new cases on Wednesday, so the 176 new cases this Thursday means a new daily mark of people with the condition.

The Central American country detected its first case on March 13 and since then it had not exceeded the barrier of one hundred infections per day, with 85 new cases per day as its maximum record, established last Sunday.

Giammattei ordered a general quarantine from March 15 and a curfew from March 21, but decided to gradually “reopen” the country from May 3, eleven days ago, despite having repeatedly warned that the peak of the disease would arrive in the first weeks of May.

The Central American nation has registered massive mobility in recent weeks and some crowds of people in various parts of the country, such as at the funeral of a municipal mayor or on Mother’s Day on May 10 outside of restaurants and patisseries.

According to the Government of Guatemala, this Thursday 1,022 tests were carried out to detect the disease.

The municipal mayor of Quetzaltenango, the second largest city in Guatemala, Juan Fernando López, asked Tuesday for “total” confinement for several days due to COVID-19, or, otherwise, “we are going to die many,” he assured.

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