Paraguay has decreed a strict state of lockdown as of this Saturday at 00.00 as a measure to curb the spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus, particularly the Brazilian P1 variant, also known as Manaus, and which has been affecting the country's health system severely in the past days.
The decision came in time for the Easter Week holidays and was intended to prevent mass gatherings and celebrations.
The circulation of people will be limited to essential activities such as buying groceries and medicines. Supermarket, pharmacy and hospital staff are to go on with their normal lives in order to keep the essential services available between 5 am and 8 pm.
The new restriction is to be effective until Easter Sunday (April 4). Public events, entertainment shows and the circulation of short, medium and long distance transport is banned.
For that reason, Asunción's bus terminal saw an unusual increase in activity since Thursday as over 50,000 people boarded coaches to get together with their loved ones out of town for the festivities. An average 600 passengers per hour have left Asunción before the terminal was closed after the last bus out departed at 11:45 p.m.
Public transport in Asunción's metropolitan area will remain operational but standing passengers will not be allowed.
People willing to exercise shall be limited to 500 metres from their homes.
Hotel accomodations will be available only for travelers who had already made a reservation prior to the new restrictive measures.
Law Enforcement is to run checkpoints together with the armed forces at many strategic places throughout the country to make sure the lockdown is observed, newly-appointed interim National Police Deputy Chief Víctor Balbuena warned.
Those in violation of the lockdown will be subject to a rigourous procedure as required by the Office of the State's Attorney and the Health Ministry, Balbuena explained.
The new lockdown measures were decreed at the request of the Health Ministry in light of the new Manaus strain of the coronavirus severely affecting the country. But medical experts hope the lockdown will be extended to stop the spread of the covid-19 disease.