Paraguay imposes national quarantine stop Covid-19

Paraguay imposes national quarantine stop Covid-19
Empty street in Paraguayan capital Asunción. Photo: Twitter

Paraguay’s Health Minister Julio Borba said a “total quarantine” will be imposed all over the country during the Easter holiday. Mr. Borba — who was sworn in March 8 after a social uprising forced his predecessor to resign — said major unions accepted the decision and that the Finance Minister will give more details about its economic impacts in the coming days. 

“People will have to stay inside their homes with minimum and indispensable displacements to provide food, medicine and cleaning products,” the government said.

Mr. Borba’s statement comes as positive cases of coronavirus “increased by 12 percent” in the last seven days, with “15 percent of them requiring medical attention.” During the month, Paraguay reached its all-time record of hospitalizations, forcing the creation of new ICU beds as occupancy in intensive care units hit 100 percent. From an average of 10 deaths per day in January, now the country has between 40 and 50 daily fatalities. 

On Thursday, health authorities warned that the Brazilian Covid-19 variant is “already circulating in several departments,” which could help to explain the surge of cases during the month. In 2020, cases at Brazilian border regions boosted the pandemic in Paraguay. 

Vaccine problems lead to quarantine

Paraguay is struggling to speed up its vaccination efforts. As of Tuesday, a little more than 14,000 shots were administered — just 0.21 per 100 inhabitants. The shortage forced the government to use all doses received from the UN-backed COVAX facility at once

Mr. Borba said that more vaccines are coming in the “near future,” with potential purchases with India, the U.S., and Qatar. The country also expects 2 million Covaxin doses and another 200,000 as part of a donation from AstraZeneca.