By Roy Moncada (La Prensa)
HAVANA TIMES – The Managua City Hall has tried to slow the advance of COVID-19 in Nicaragua by sending 400 of the city’s workers home on leave. The workers were sent off the job for showing signs of the virus; several have died, internal sources confided to La Prensa. These sources also assert that there’s concern among the workforce.
District four and the Civic Center are the two most affected City facilities, with the outbreak most concentrated among the offices for Legal Affairs, Tax Collection, Environmental Matters, the General Secretariat, Human Resources and Financial Administration.
The same municipal sources confided that there have even been absences among the personnel of the Youth Presidency office, which makes videos and produces information in favor of the Ortega government. Although this area isn’t formally part of the city government, their offices are right next to those of Fidel Moreno, City Hall’s general secretary. The youth office has been there since 2018, when the social uprising occurred.
Nicaragua confirmed the first case of COVID-19 on March 18, but the city government resisted the idea of taking action or implementing internal preventive measures. Instead, Mayor Reyna Rueda, together with Fidel Moreno, continued promoting public activities without respecting the social distancing measures recommended by international health organizations.
Months later, when the cases of COVID-19 began to multiply rapidly, the local authorities began to implement some actions in their departments, most visibly the installation of handwashing stations at the entrances to the different areas and the strict disinfection of anyone who was entering Rueda’s or Moreno’s private offices.
Efforts to appear normal
Governments from the Central American region have implemented quarantines early on to reduce the exponential curve of COVID-19 contagion. The Nicaragua authorities have refused to decree any such measures and have invested their efforts in trying to appear normal. Managua City Hall acts in accordance with the dictates of the Presidency, and must follow that general policy.
Following the closing of the May city council session, which was celebrated at the end of last month at the Japanese Park, the reporters from La Prensa asked the mayor what other actions she was thinking about taking to protect her workers from contagion. The mayor remained silent and refused to offer any declarations.