Deportations to El Salvador will continue
On March 11, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele declared a national quarantine of 21 days, which could be expanded, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the small Central American country. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in El Salvador, although the journalists they have questioned the veracity of the official figures.
All schools were immediately suspended and it is unclear how parents and caregivers will adapt to the closure of the education system. On the other hand, international trade will continue. The Government announced that will open centers to gather food and supplies for people in quarantine.
Bukele made reference to Italy in his speech, which is also quarantined to prevent the virus from spreading outside its borders. To date, in Italy there are 17 660 people infected with the virus, 1266 have died.
– Presidential House (@PresidenciaSV) March 11, 2020
He continued: “Our health system is not at the level of Italy, it is not at the level of South Korea.”
The press has continually denounced that El Salvador's health system lacks medicines, financing and medical personnel.
Currently, in El Salvador, only citizens, residents and diplomats can enter the country. If a traveler comes from a country considered at risk, they must pass 30 days in quarantine. On March 12, confusion reigned in the international Airport from San Salvador. People were reported to have tried to enter the country by force.
On March 13, the Government presented two decrees to the Legislative Assembly that, if approved, would implement a national state of emergency and an exceptional regime in El Salvador, which would limit freedom of assembly and freedom of movement.
Reactions on social media
On YouTube, the Salvadoran commentator José Valladares, like many, expressed on Twitter their support for the president's decision.
Well, an excellent government decision.
Now, we have to abide by sanitary measures and do not panic.
Pray that everything is normalized.
– José Valladares (@soyjoseyoutuber) March 12, 2020
Analyst Tiziano Breda of the Crisis International group highlights how dependent the Central American economies are on trade, but believes that El Salvador's decision was the best solution.
Now that # Coronavid19 is almost inevitably starting to hit #CentralAmerica, countries in the region are responding in different ways, struggling between maintaining a lifeline for their fragile economies and the need to prevent the spread of the disease (THREAD)
– Tiziano Breda (@TizBreda) March 11, 2020
Now that the coronavirus is almost inevitably starting to hit Central America, the countries of the region are responding in different ways, and are struggling between following a lifeline for their fragile economies and the need to prevent the spread of the disease (HILO).
Lucía Pineda, a brave Nicaraguan journalist, congratulates Nayib Bukele's decision and compares it with the alleged inaction by Nicaragua to prevent the spread. He also criticized how the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health denied attention to anti-government protesters in 2018.
The measures taken by @nayibbukele in #The Savior In the face of coronaviruses, they are correct, preventing rather than regretting death. In #Nicaragua It seems that the regimen has a large sign “WELCOME CORONAVIRUS”. Already the health system left the wounded x repression to die in 2018 and now?
– Lucia100% News (@LuciaPinedaU) March 12, 2020
On the other hand, young people ask how to comply with health instructions if they do not have access to clean water. El Salvador has been experiencing a public water crisis in recent years that worsened in January 2020.
However, Jorge Cuéllar, professor and associate researcher at Dartmouth University, sees a populist impulse in Bukele's immediate decision:
Still thinking about Bukele’s alarmist 21-day decree yesterday that ‘immediately’ quarantined El Salvador. It only ‘immediately’ induced panic. The emergency session was not the best way to address this. Most of it was populist theater.
– Jorge Cuéllar (@infrapolitics) March 12, 2020
I am still thinking about yesterday's alarmist 21-day Bukele decree to quarantine El Salvador “immediately.” It only caused panic “right away.” The emergency session was not the best way to address this. It was largely a populist theater.
Deportations of migrants and asylum seekers from the United States and Mexico will continue, causing concern among lawyers and officials.
“An official from the Directorate of Attention to Migrants asked for the suspension of deportations while the Government prepares for the virus,” Latin America News Dispatch reported.
Advocates and officials are concerned that the steady arrival of deportees from the U.S. and Mexico to Central America could complicate the region’s ability to contain the coronavirus. #TodayInLatinAmerica https://t.co/EAFhDhi6hM
– Latin Dispatch (@LatAmDispatch) March 13, 2020
Deportations continue as Central America prepares for the coronavirus.
TODAY IN LATIN AMERICA, UNITED STATES, CENTRAL AMERICA: Lawyers and officials are concerned that the constant arrival of deportees from the United States and Mexico to Central America would complicate the region's ability to contain the coronavirus.
Lawyers and officials are concerned that the constant arrival of deportees from the United States and Mexico to Central America would complicate the region's ability to contain the coronavirus.
Other Salvadorans responded with humor.
See this post on Instagram
Thanks for protecting us presi @nayibbukele
Check out Global Voices' special coverage on the global impact of COVID-19.