Chile calls ‘state of disaster’ as Latin America fights virus

A policeman wears a face masks to forestall the unfold of the brand new Coronavirus, COVID-19, on the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, in Santiago, on March 18, 2020. – Chilean President Sebastian Pinera decreed state of disaster over the brand new coronavirus outbreak. There are 238 instances within the nation to date. (Photo by Martin BERNETTI / AFP)

Chile declared a “state of catastrophe” and delayed a constitutional referendum whereas a number of nations introduced nighttime curfews as Latin America expanded its coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday.

The Chilean measures had been set to final for 90 days and would assist defend the nation’s hospitals and medical personnel, stated President Sebastian Pinera.

“The armed forces will be able to act as true health forces, collaborating with all the officials in our health system,” he added of a provision that allowed army members to take part within the aid efforts.

The measure additionally permits restrictions on freedom of motion.

In a later TV interview, he stated it will be “prudent” to delay a referendum on altering Chile’s dictatorship-era structure till September.

News {that a} minister in Brazil had examined optimistic for the virus got here because the Sao Paulo inventory change was suspended for the sixth time in eight periods after plummeting greater than 10 p.c.

National Security Minister Augusto Heleno is the most recent official to be identified with COVID-19 following a state go to to the US.

Sixteen individuals who accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have now examined optimistic for the virus, though he and his American counterpart Donald Trump examined unfavorable.

Brazil has confirmed 529 coronavirus instances and 4 deaths — the very best in Latin America, with greater than 1,200 instances throughout the continent.

The regional dying toll rose to 14 after Costa Rica reported its first COVID-19 fatality.

Five others had been killed in a mass jail breakout after Venezuelan authorities banned household visits to forestall doable contagion, Zulia state governor Omar Prieto stated.

Cruise docks in Cuba
A 61-year-old Italian vacationer grew to become the primary particular person to die of the illness in Cuba, the well being ministry stated.

Cuba depends on tourism income and has bucked the regional development in preserving its borders open with out strict quarantine measures for guests.

Earlier on Wednesday, Cuba allowed a British cruise ship carrying 5 contaminated folks and greater than 50 others displaying flu-like signs to dock on the island.

It had been turned away by each the Bahamas and Barbados.

More than 1,000 passengers and crew aboard the vessel had been being repatriated to Britain on Wednesday night.

“We are very grateful to the Cuban government for swiftly enabling this operation,” stated British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.

El Salvador’s standing as one of many few remaining nations within the hemisphere and not using a COVID-19 case got here to an finish on Wednesday.

President Nayib Bukele stated the unidentified affected person had been remoted.

Markets elsewhere within the area continued their slide, with Buenos Aires practically 15 p.c down and Colombia saying an emergency $15 billion financial bundle.

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