Panic over the spread of the coronavirus sparked a prison riot in Colombia that killed 23 inmates on Sunday, as Chile became the latest Latin American country to announce restrictions on movement.
Rioting swept through the crowded jail overnight in the Colombian capital Bogota amid rising tensions over the virus in the penitentiary system.
Justice Minister Margarita Cabello described the violence as an attempted mass breakout, part of what she said was a coordinated plan with inmates who caused disturbances in 13 jails across the country.
The minister rejected accusations by rights groups that the riots were sparked by unsanitary conditions inside a prison system that was woefully unprepared to face the pandemic.
A curfew in Chile “will take effect throughout the national territory from 10:00 pm to 05:00 am the next day,” Health Minister Jaime Manalich announced Sunday. The country, which has 632 infections, registered its first death from the pandemic at the weekend.
Ecuador, which has seen the region’s second-greatest number of deaths after Brazil, marked its highest daily increase on Sunday, doubling to 14 dead and 789 positive cases.
Quito on Sunday ordered the military to take control of the worst-hit province of Guayas in the south-west of the country.
Government Minister Maria Paula Romo said the armed forces had been authorised “to manage the province of Guayas as a national security zone”. A nationwide curfew has been in place since Tuesday.
Governments in the region have been stepping up efforts to try to slow the spread of the pandemic, which has claimed 13,500 lives worldwide
Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador and Paraguay are among a growing number of countries to impose a total lockdown of their populations.
Colombia will join the group from midnight on Tuesday with a 19-day mandatory lockdown of its 48 million population.
– Ignoring lockdown –
Bolivia’s government criticized sections of the population for ignoring its lockdown on Sunday. “We are not going to do this with a 98 percent lockdown. We are only going to defeat the coronavirus with 100 percent commitment,” Defense Minister Luis Fernando Lopez said…….read more