El Salvador this week become the first country in the Americas to ban all foreign entry in a bid to stem the spread of the novel Chinese coronavirus as the disease begins to plague Central America.
On Wednesday, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele announced the 30-day quarantine in a televised address to the nation, stressing that the small Central American country has not yet confirmed any cases of the deadly disease, which originated in China.
“And not because it hasn’t been detected,” he emphasized. “The necessary tests have been conducted and they’ve been negative.”
Bukele said that cases could surface shortly, noting that there are 56 people in quarantine inside El Salvador. He suggested that most of the people in quarantine are overseas travelers.
Immigration authorities would prohibit entry “of any foreigner who is not a resident or diplomat in Salvadoran territory” for 21 days, Bukele declared.
Bukele also suspended school and university classes as well as public gatherings of more than 500 people for 21 days.
The president added that his government would subject Salvadorans arriving from nations where coronavirus is active to a 30-day quarantine.
Bukele acknowledged that the countrywide quarantine and ban on the entry of foreigners would prompt criticism, assuring the nation that the steps are necessary to help slow the spread of the virus.
“This day we have made a tough decision. We’ll probably get criticism from some sectors. Maybe we’ll lose some popularity points. But most importantly, the lives of the Salvadorans; which we swear to protect,” the center-right popular leader proclaimed.
“I know this will be criticized, but let’s put ourselves in Italy’s shoes. Italy wishes they could’ve done this before,” the charismatic Bukele, 38, added. “Our health system is not at Italy’s level. It’s not at South Korea’s level.”
“Nearly a third of the population in this Central American nation of 6 million live in poverty,” the Washington Post noted. “Public health analysts have warned that poor and marginalized peoples are at a heightened risk as the virus spreads.”
Breitbart Texas learned that the modest amount of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Central America and Mexico stem from overseas travelers.
Currently, the only countries in the region with confirmed cases of the deadly disease are Costa Rica (22), Panama (14), Mexico (12), and Honduras (2). Panama is home to the only coronavirus-linked fatality in Central America.
Guatemala has instituted a similar plan to El Salvador’s, banning the entry of citizens of European countries, Iran, China, as well as North and South Korea, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Coronavirus emerged in China’s Wuhan region back in December and has since spread to countries across the world, including the United States.
President Donald Trump and some pundits have flirted with border restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed the coronavirus a global pandemic.