Brazilian City Of Fortaleza Imposes Quarantine For COVID-19

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Fortaleza, one of the largest cities in Brazil, imposed a quarantine on Friday to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The city, in the state of Ceará, is the third state capital to adopt more restrictive measures of vehicular traffic and movement of people, except for the fulfillment of essential services. São Luís and Belém, in the states of Maranhão and Pará, respectively, also did so this week.


So far Fortaleza – with 2.7 million inhabitants – has registered 727 deaths from coronavirus, and local authorities projected some 4,000 deaths the day before the end of May. According to the mayor’s office, in the last ten days there was a significant increase in the number of fatalities that led to the adoption of stricter measures.

Brazil, with more than 136,500 confirmed cases and more than 9,200 deaths, is the Latin American country most affected by the coronavirus.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who has criticized the isolation measures adopted by governors and mayors, went to the Supreme Court together with businessmen on Thursday and asked that the restrictions be relaxed to guarantee the economy’s functioning.

For its part, the Mexican government acknowledged on Friday that there are suspected deaths that could increase the death toll from the coronavirus, which currently stands at 3,160, but which must first be analyzed.

According to the undersecretary, in this situation there are about 360 cases.

“The deaths of people suffering from COVID cannot always be proven,” acknowledged Undersecretary of Health Hugo López-Gatell in a video broadcast on Twitter to respond to various international media that point out that the registration of cases in Mexico is below reality. The main criticism is that Mexico has done much less testing than the rest of the countries.

López-Gatell argued that many patients arrive at the hospital “in a state of seriousness that does not allow timely testing” and, although they could be done after death, “this rarely occurs.”

“So we have people who very unfortunately lose their lives and have had the suggestive clinical conditions of COVID but are not registered because they do not have a laboratory demonstration,” he insisted.

Until Friday night, Mexico hovered around 31,500 officially infected.

In Bolivia, Acting President Jeanine Áñez changed two ministers without explanation and removed a senior official accused of violating the quarantine. He also instructed his ministers to coordinate the fight against the pandemic amid growing criticism for the lack of laboratories, little evidence, a shortage of personnel and a growing civil disobedience to the isolation that he decreed until May 10.

The day before, the medical committee that advises the government said that 68 municipalities are at “high risk” of an expansion of the coronavirus. Epidemiology director Virgilio Prieto said transmission is accelerating.

At night the Ministry of Health reported that for the second consecutive day 185 positive cases were reported, bringing the number of infections in the country to 1,160 and 106 deaths.

In Ecuador, the Minister of Labor, Luis Poveda, reported 78,598 layoffs as a result of the pandemic and the reduction in the price of its main export product, oil, which was estimated at $ 51.3 per barrel and is now around $ 24. .

Hours later, the Minister of Health, Juan Carlos Zevallos, reported 1,704 deaths and 1,777 people who probably died from the virus, although tests were not taken in time. There are 28,818 infected in the country, but 2,463 patients were discharged from hospital.

From Chile, it was reported that more than five of the eight million inhabitants of Greater Santiago began a mandatory quarantine. The area has the highest rate of infections in the country with 25,972 infected and 294 deceased. The government is concerned about the burden on the health system, which implies an increase of about 1,240 infected daily so far this month.

Among the 12 neighborhoods that join 13 others already in quarantine are the most populous and poorest in the Chilean capital, who have difficulties in respecting the sanitary measure because hundreds of thousands live in overcrowding and depend on their daily informal work to eat.

The government ordered about 14,000 military and police officers to patrol the streets and monitor the companies responsible for food distribution and basic services. Those who violate the curfew or quarantine risk fines ranging from $ 2,900 to $ 59,000 and prison terms of between 61 and 541 days.

Since the pandemic began, Chile has repatriated some 40,000 Chileans and on Friday added 258 others spread across cities in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and New Zealand. Many waited more than a month and traveled thousands of kilometers until they met in Singapore, where they boarded a humanitarian plane from the LATAM airline.

Later, from Colombia, the Bogotá government secretary, Hugo Acero, said that due to the quarantine, crimes such as street theft, vehicle theft, homicides and personal injuries have decreased substantially.

“In the case of theft of motor vehicles, it went from 297 to 40, while in theft the decrease was 80%, from 10,046 cases to 2,053 Personal injuries in April 2019 was 1,894, and in April of this year, they registered 531 with a decrease of 72% ”, he explained.

In other topics, during the day a virtual exercise marathon was held, organized by the owners of some 1,700 gyms throughout the country, a union that has also been seriously affected by the coronavirus and by the mandatory quarantine that has left 10,051 infections and the minus 428 deaths.

At night 247 Colombians arrived from New York, who will now serve a quarantine of 14 days in their homes, thus completing 28 humanitarian flights that have brought more than 3,000 nationals.

Foreign Minister Claudia Blum announced on Friday that next week 800 Colombians will return to her country on humanitarian flights that were stranded due to the closure of airports and the mandatory quarantine that would end on May 25.

Hours later, in Venezuela contagions rose to 378 after the detection of seven new cases, of which three are related to the outbreak that was detected in April at a baseball academy on Margarita Island, and the rest were detected in states in the center, west and south of the country, said vice president Delcy Rodríguez. The death record is kept at 10.

The vice president said that during the day a shipment of insulin from Russia arrived in the country as part of the cooperation between Caracas and Moscow to deal with the pandemic.

At night, Argentina, with 5,318 infections and 293 deaths, announced that it will extend the mandatory quarantine until May 24, although it will move towards greater flexibility for certain economic activities. The exception will be the capital and the suburbs that surround it, where the greatest number of cases is concentrated.

“There (population) density is very large and everything becomes very complex,” explained President Alberto Fernández. For the rest of the country, the authorization of shops and industries was left to the governors. The only condition is that workers will not be able to get around on public transport.

Although it will maintain its limitations, Buenos Aires will allow, for the first time since quarantine is in force, that children have recreational outings accompanied by their parents.

In Guatemala, the health minister Hugo Monroy reported that 68 new cases were reported, with which there are already 876 positive cases and 24 deaths.

Monroy said that “now we have entered the critical point”, so he recommended extreme precautionary measures.

In Latin America there have been more than 327,000 infections and more than 17,700 deaths.

The coronavirus has infected more than 3.9 million people and killed more than 272,000 worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, which bases its data on reports from the governments and the health authorities of each country.