CENTRAL AMERICA & CARIBBEAN
On April 29, Nicaragua announced its first measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic with the announcement on the part of the Executive branch that Managua International Airport will remain closed, although no regulations have been issued to support this. Guatemala has extended the State of Public Calamity for 30 days, and the Bahamas has announced a plan to reactivate its economy once the pandemic is over.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has announced a plan to reopen the economy in five phases “gradually and deliberately”, explaining that at each stage, mandatory health and social distancing protocols will be enforced. “We must have the flexibility to make changes quickly and tighten restrictions if the reproduction rate does not move in the right direction,” he said.
The plan, recommended by the National COVID-19 Coordination Committee involves the following stages: in the first one, the idea is to completely open up essential services, public services and construction. In the second stage, services that are already operating partially will be further extended on the rest of the country’s islands.
The third phase envisages the full reopening of non-essential operations, while the fourth will see the reopening of restaurants, cinemas and cultural events. Ultimately, tourism-related activities will resume and the borders will be reopened. However, the Prime Minister did not give specific dates for the implementation of each phase.
The Vice President of Nicaragua, Rosario Murillo, announced today that the Government intends to introduce new security measures to combat COVID-19, including the use of facemasks and social distancing. Murillo reported that the new measures include the disinfection of “interurban, urban, and interdepartmental public transport, bus stops, markets, study and work centers, houses and neighborhoods.”
On the other hand, it was confirmed that Managua International Airport will be closed until further notice, although the regulations do not envisage closing all airports in general. The announcement came after it was confirmed that the third victim of COVID-19 in the country was an airport employee. Murillo explained on a more hopeful note that they would be taking steps to promote domestic tourism. “Visiting different districts and doing tourism is a way of helping the country,” she said.
The Executive branch today decreed an extension of the state of calamity for another 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic and authorized purchases of, or contracts for, imported goods and supplies related to the declaration of the state of calamity. This decree is already in effect, although it may be modified by Congress.
The declaration signed by President Alejandro Giammattei extends the validity of decrees 5-2020, 6-2020 and 7-2020, the first of which establishes the state of calamity, followed by a series of amendments regarding health and traffic licences. The third provision extended the state of emergency, now extended again at the request of the President.