LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) – The government of the interim president, Jeanine Áñez, decreed on Monday “public calamity” in Bolivia for the pandemic of the new coronavirus in order to process an internal credit to deal with the disease in the midst of an escalation of contagions.
The measure comes amid a dispute between the executive and the Legislative Assembly, dominated by the party of former President Evo Morales, which has rejected a $ 327 million loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), alleging that it is conditioned on adjustment measures. economic. The international organization denied this claim.
“The Ministry of Economy and Public Finance will process before the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB) the granting of a credit in favor of the General Treasury of the Nation (TGN), in order to continue with the implementation of actions of an economic nature aimed at mitigating the negative effects of the coronavirus, ”reads the decree published on the page of the country’s official gazette.
The document does not specify the amount of the loan, but it does indicate that it will be to meet the “urgent needs of an economic nature caused by the negative effects of the coronavirus.”
The Áñez government – who earlier tweeted that she has been discharged and returned to work after catching the disease – failed to engage in dialogue with Morales’s party. Both forces had to analyze economic issues to face the pandemic and loans like that of the IMF.
The same Monday, in the neighboring city of El Alto, long lines of people with gas balloons were seen outside the plant of that energy company after a massive contagion of the operating personnel, the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) reported in a statement. ).
Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales de Bolivia, in an internal statement, explained that all its personnel were undergoing tests to detect the virus.
Shortly before, inmates at a prison in central Bolivia mutinied demanding better health conditions after the death of three inmates, probably COVID-19.
The inmates climbed onto the roof of the San Sebastián prison carrying Bolivian flags, posters and a cardboard coffin in the city of Cochabamba, about 250 kilometers east of La Paz.
“No more deaths in prisons,” said the prisoners, who held signs demanding that they have a doctor to attend to them.
Shortly afterwards, the police mounted a cordon with their troops on the perimeter to control the protest, said the prison governor, Colonel Simón Cuadros. “There are several requests in the wake of the pandemic, mainly asking for medical assistance and test results,” he said.
Bolivia’s prisons are being hit by the disease. In San Pedro prison, in La Paz, 23 inmates died in two weeks, all with suspicions of COVID-19, so a medical operation was carried out, the results of which are not yet known.
The World Organization against Torture (OMCT) recently expressed its deep concern about the “serious health situation in the penitentiary centers of Bolivia, as well as the social consequences that this is generating within the prisons.”
Meanwhile, the police force reported that between Friday and Sunday it collected 210 deaths from homes and some from the street with suspicions of having suffered from COVID in the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, the most populous in Bolivia, according to said the chief of the anti-crime police, Colonel Iván Rojas. “80% are with COVID-19 and suspects, that is, they died with the symptoms of the disease,” he added.
According to the latest report from the Ministry of Health, the country is close to reaching 70,000 accumulated infections and 2,583 deaths from the virus.