HAVANA TIMES – Amnesty International has criticized the Nicaraguan government for its relaxed approach to the coronavirus pandemic, after the country’s president reappeared for the first time in over a month, reported dpa news.
The London-based aid organization said on Thursday the Nicaraguan government has endangered thousands of lives by failing to introduce social distancing policies and allowing mass gatherings.
Ruled by the left-wing Sandinistas, the state has not moved to ban mass gatherings or control borders to limit the spread of the disease, unlike much of the rest of the world.
During Holy Week the government organized a number of events, including music festivals.
The comments came as President Daniel Ortega addressed the nation on Wednesday evening, following a month-long absence that led to speculation about his health.
The 74-year-old said that the coronavirus is a sign from God to countries that are wrongly spending billions on nuclear bombs.
He also defended his country’s response to the pandemic saying that they had acted responsibly.
“If we stop working here, the country will die,” Ortega said. “And if the country dies, the people die and are wiped out.”
Taking a business as usual course the government has announced no assistance to those citizens who decide to stay home and practice self-quarantine or others whose jobs are lost or on hold. Likewise, health personnel at hospitals and health centers are forbidden to where masks so as not “to alarm” the population.
Ortega made reference to the world’s coronavirus epicenter in the United States, saying the “largest military and economic power in the history of mankind” does not have the capacity to take care of the people in its big cities.
Only one person has been reported to have died as a result of the novel coronavirus in Nicaragua, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which uses the government’s statistics.
Scientists note that very few tests have been given in Nicaragua and despite receiving a donation of 26,000 test kits the government says it will only do 50 tests a day nationwide all centered in their Managua laboratory which to date has been the only facility where testing has occurred with little information on the results revealed.