LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) – A few drops of hope fell from the Bolivian sky for Catholics this Holy Thursday.
After the Andean country announced the release of older prisoners to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in prisons, a parish priest from the central region of Cochabamba got on a military helicopter and began spraying holy water over the city.
“It is so that the blessing reaches everyone and we do not lose hope in these difficult times,” said Father Rolando Laime.
Due to the quarantine, parishioners follow broadcasts of Masses and other activities of the Catholic Church on television or online.
The government of the interim president Jeanine Áñez decided to abide by Friday’s holiday during the quarantine, with the suspension of the few commercial activities that are still carried out, such as those of the markets, and the services of financial entities.
Hours earlier, the Minister of the Presidency, Yerko Núñez, said that the benefit of release will apply to inmates over 58 years of age, in the case of men, and 56 for women who are mothers. Defendants of child rape and femicides will not be allowed to leave.
According to studies by the Ombudsman, Bolivian prisons have an overpopulation of 290%, that is, there are almost three inmates in a space for one. In 61 jails, 18,000 prisoners live, of which 83% have no sentence.
The country registers 249 infected and 19 deaths.
In Chile, with 5,915 infected and 57 deaths, the authorities intensified controls to prevent the internal transfer of tourists during Easter.
Most trips to summer areas leave from well-off neighborhoods in the capital, quarantined due to the high number of infected. Santiago Governor Felipe Guevara said there are at least three complaints from people who left the city by helicopter or aircraft.
Víctor Manoli, governor of the southern region of La Araucanía _one of those most affected by the coronavirus_, indicated that there is a history that “people were arriving by air” and through secondary roads. Those who break the barriers are exposed to economic sanctions.
For its part, in Peru there are 5,256 infected and 138 dead, including a doctor and three policemen, authorities said.
Pilar Mazzetti, the highest Peruvian official in charge of fighting COVID-19, said they are considering sending the presidential plane to China to bring assisted breathing equipment, which has not been able to leave that nation since March because the borders are closed.
On the other hand, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard explained that the country bought 11.5 million masks and other medical equipment from China for 56.5 million dollars, and said that on Friday the second of the 20 scheduled flights will arrive in the capital. to bring the purchased material.
Mexico has already received a first shipment with 725,000 gloves and 825,000 respirators.
Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer asked hospitals to make disciplined use of the materials.
In the United States, 108 Mexicans from COVID-19 died, Ebrard added, and the remains of 14 of them will return to their homeland at the request of their relatives.
So far Mexico has registered 3,007 infections and 174 deaths.
In Colombia, since the compulsory quarantine began, the more than 13,000 ex-combatants of the disappeared Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) have received health and food assistance and there have been no cases of coronavirus in their camps, said the Presidential Counselor for the Stabilization and Peacebuilding, Emilio Archila, to The Associated Press.
In the country there are 2,223 infected and 69 deaths.
On the other hand, in Argentina there are 70 deaths and 1,725 infected people. Some 98 beds are occupied in intensive care units, a figure that has been stable in recent days.
The Ministry of Health reported that it will strengthen medical personnel with the incorporation of more than 15,000 professionals who will be trained in the treatment of COVID-19.
Controls to enforce quarantine were reinforced on routes and accesses to Buenos Aires, the city that registers the most infections. The greater control measures are due to the need to ensure isolation during Easter.
The government analyzes how long the quarantine will last.
In Ecuador, the Government Minister, María Paula Romo, said that the number of infected rose to 4,965 and 242 died. The province of Guayas remains the epicenter with 3,384 cases.
In Guatemala, President Alejandro Giammattei called again to stay home and said on a national network that the number of cases reached 123 and three died.
There are 15,000 people in quarantine, he said, and a sanitary cord was established in the municipality of Patzún, in the department of Chimaltenango, where the first community case occurred and where at least 11 people have been infected.
From Cuba, after detecting the first cases of community transmission, the authorities decreed the hardening of social isolation in another capital neighborhood. There are now two areas of Havana _one in the municipality of Plaza de la Revolución and another in Cerro_ that are under this regime of greater control, to which is added a third in the western province of Pinar del Río.
There is no mandatory quarantine at the national level, but authorities warned that they began to sanction those who violate health prevention regulations or take advantage of the situation, including not wearing face masks on the street, raising product prices or hoarding food.
At night, the Minister of Transport, Eduardo Rodríguez, announced on television that urban transport will be paralyzed _the interprovincial already is_, be it private (the picturesque old American cars), as well as the state, which covers city buses and minibuses.
In addition, stores will begin to close to avoid crowds and queues, but those that sell food and toiletries will continue to operate. Non-essential merchandise such as clothing or footwear will not be sold.
The island registers 515 cases and 15 deaths.
Venezuela, in turn, announced that there are 171 infections and nine deaths.
The cases of home isolation are expected to drop to zero, said the Minister of Communication, Jorge Rodríguez, following instructions from President Nicolás Maduro, who this week ordered to transfer all those infected who are in their homes to health centers.
Towards afternoon, the Ministry of Health of El Salvador reported that there are 103 confirmed cases, six deceased and 14 recovered.
On the other hand, in Panama a total of 2,670 cases and 66 deaths were reported.
The canal isthmus, which has carried out 12,583 tests to detect the coronavirus, is the Central American country with the highest number of positive cases.
In Latin America and the Caribbean there are more than 42,100 infected and more than 1,700 people have died from the coronavirus.
The pandemic has infected more than 1.5 million people and killed more than 94,800 worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, which bases its data on reports from the governments and the health authorities of each country.
In most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that disappear in two to three weeks. But in some people, especially older adults and those with underlying health conditions, it can cause more serious illness and even death.