| 24 May 2024, Friday |

Guatemala orders new travel, social curbs as virus cases surge

On Thursday, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei announced new national transportation limitations and social restrictions in an effort to contain a coronavirus outbreak and relieve hospital pressure.

Giammattei opted out of the most severe lockdown restrictions, but warned that starting Saturday, most journeys will be forbidden from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., and social gatherings such as weddings and public sporting events will be prohibited for at least four weeks.

The president, who is a medical doctor, said in a televised speech the measures were “urgent and necessary to contain the spread of the pandemic”.

“It will give our hospital system a chance to breath,” he said, as the capital’s biggest hospital reported it could take no new patients due to the surge of COVID-19 cases.

The new measures require the approval of Congress, which is expected to be granted on Friday.

Guatemala, Central America’s biggest country with about 18 million residents, has posted nearly 480,000 coronavirus infections and more than 12,000 deaths, according to official data.

To date, only 1.3 million Guatemalans have been fully vaccinated.

  • Reuters