Paraguayan President oversees military reinforcement on the border with Brazil



The President of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, moved this Monday to Ciudad del Este, on the border with Brazil, to supervise the military presence in the area, specifically, at the Friendship Bridge, which has become one of the main entry points for Paraguayans stranded in Brazil during the closure of the borders due to the pandemic.

The Paraguayan president announced last Friday his intention to double the number of uniformed personnel on the border with Brazil, considering that there is "the greatest vulnerability", given the high number of cases of coronavirus in the neighboring country, with more than 7,000 deaths and above 100,000 positive.

"Today we verify the controls at the Friendship Bridge, where we take all our support to the Military and Police Forces. Our compatriots will be guaranteed entry in an orderly manner for quarantine," Abdo Benítez published on his social networks.

During the visit, the president toured the facilities and the vicinity of the Friendship Bridge, including the waters of the Paraná river, according to the Presidency in a statement.

Since the closing of the borders was decreed in March, the Friendship Bridge, which links Ciudad del Este with the Brazilian Foz de Iguazú, began to receive Paraguayans from Brazil who were approaching the border crossing with the intention of entering the country.

In total, Paraguay has repatriated more than 2,200 nationals stranded abroad, of which about 1,700 were in Brazil.

During the past morning, Paraguay allowed the entry of women and children through the Friendship Bridge, as reported by the National Intelligence Secretariat on its social networks, without specifying specific figures.

The same source added that throughout the morning another 80 Paraguayans arrived at the place, also waiting to enter Paraguay.

Although access remains closed to citizens, trucks can enter and leave the country to guarantee the supply of the population.

However, the transporters threatened to stop entering merchandise in Paraguay as a protest against the presence of a transitory shelter in the Puente area for Paraguayans waiting to enter, a complaint that was also joined by Migration officials, both Paraguayans and Brazilians, for fear of possible infections.

The Paraguayan president was forced to close said shelter to avoid problems with the entry of goods into the country.

Paraguay has registered 396 cases of coronavirus since last March 7, when the first was detected, and in recent days an increase in positives has been observed in people from Brazil.

Of those 396 cases, ten have died and 126 have recovered.

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