Paraguay closes bridge with Brazil for transit of people due to coronavirus


ASUNCION, Mar 17 (Reuters) – The international bridge that connects the Paraguayan town Ciudad del Este with the Brazilian Foz do Iguaçu will be closed from Wednesday for the transit of people, announced President Mario Abdo, as part of the measures that seek to mitigate the expansion of the coronavirus in the country.

The Government had already announced over the weekend the temporary closure of borders, authorizing only the entry of Paraguayans, resident foreigners, and members of diplomatic missions and international organizations.

The movement of people within the country at night is also restricted.

“We are going to close the traffic from tonight at 00:00 hours (…) we have seen that in Ciudad del Este on the Friendship Bridge there is a lot of traffic (…) it is a large volume of people who come and go and who can be infected, “Abdo said in a message to the nation announcing the decision.

The measure will not affect the transit of goods. “Under strict sanitary control, we are going to verify the drivers so that trade and the economic movement do not stop,” added the president.

Located about 320 kilometers east of Asunción in the Triple Border area, the Friendship Bridge is the main bordering pass with Brazil and one of the busiest in the region. It is estimated that about 40,000 cars pass through the bridge per day.

Paraguay has 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus and was one of the first countries to adopt restrictive measures in an attempt to reduce infections. The Paraguayan health system has been treating one of the worst dengue epidemics in its history, with nearly 150,000 cases reported so far this year, according to official figures.

(By Daniela Desantis, Edited by Juana Casas)