Ortega continues to minimize COVID-19 and says he has managed to counter it

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega again downplayed the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, which he said he has managed to counter.

In a message to the nation broadcast on the obligatory radio and television network, from his residence, the president said that at this time of year there are always deaths from pneumonia and that there are now "some" linked to the coronavirus.

Reading a report from the Ministry of Health, Ortega indicated that between January 1 and May 15, at least 309 people died from pneumonia, the third highest number in the last five years.

The highest in that period in the last five years are the 329 deaths registered in 2016 and the 312 in 2015, he said.

While the lowest amounts were 215 in 2018, when a socio-political crisis erupted that left hundreds of dead; 222 in 2019 and 289 in 2017, he detailed.


The Sandinista leader observed that deaths from pneumonia have rebounded this year and that of the 309 deaths that have been recorded so far, "some that undoubtedly have to do with this pandemic" are included.

Until last Tuesday, Nicaragua accumulated 25 confirmed cases, with 8 deaths, for a case fatality rate of 32%, the highest in America, according to official figures.

The Ministry of Health will offer its weekly report on the situation of the coronavirus tomorrow.

The independent Citizen Observatory, which independently locates cases of COVID-19 not recognized by the authorities, records 233 deaths and 1,270 suspected cases of coronavirus in Nicaragua.

Ortega, who was accompanied by his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo; The head of the National Assembly, Gustavo Porras, and the Minister of Health, Martha Reyes, also maintained that his government has managed to "counter the pandemic."

He considered that the deaths recorded so far correspond to "a normal cycle of deaths from pneumonia, where not all of these (cases) have to do with the coronavirus."


Ortega, who appeared from his residence that also occupies as Government House and in turn as General Secretary of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), has declared himself against the "Stay at home" campaign because, in his opinion, it would destroy the local economy, which has shrunk in the past two years and is largely informal.

The Sandinista leader offered that message on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the birth of the Nicaraguan hero Augusto C. Sandino.

However, unlike previous years that he commemorated with a mass bath in the municipality of Niquinohomo, Sandino's hometown, known as the "general of free men", this time he did it from his residence.

Since the pandemic was declared on March 11, Ortega has appeared three times, but has avoided contact with his bases.

The Executive has been criticized by various sectors for promoting massive events and agglomerations against the current recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), and for not establishing restrictions or suspending classes in the midst of the pandemic.

Various Nicaraguan sectors have criticized Ortega for sending citizens to expose themselves to COVID-19, while he and his family do not leave their residence.


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