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Ortega insists Nicaragua will not stop activities due to coronavirus

April 15, 2020

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said Wednesday that the country “has not stopped working” in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and that it will maintain its vision of responding to the emergency without social confinement.

“In the midst of this pandemic, work has not stopped (…) because if the country stops working, it dies,” said Ortega, speaking in his first national appearance after 34 days of absence. “Here, the important thing is that we have continued to work and consciously follow the rules with the discipline that the health system is dictating.”

Ortega, 74, had not appeared in public since March 12, when he participated in a virtual meeting with his colleagues from Central America to discuss the regional response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Without giving an explanation for his absence, the president praised the actions of his government that he says have resulted in “the pandemic having advanced slowly” within Nicaragua.

“It is not that it has not entered Nicaragua. Of course it entered and already caused a death, but its progress has been slow and everyone (the infected) comes from outside contact,” he claimed.

Nicaragua, which is reporting nine positive cases of COVID-19 — including one death —  has not applied strict measures to contain the disease, such as quarantines or border closures.

Rather, the government has promoted marches, fairs and sports activities, contrary to the call for social distancing suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Ortega affirmed that Nicaragua “has  the capacity to serve the population as long as the pace at which the epidemic manifests is administered in an orderly manner.”

During his appearance Wednesday, Ortega did not announce any new measures to confront COVID-19 and instead took the opportunity to criticize other countries and the global arms race.

“The world has been scourged with this pandemic,” Ortega said, and neither atomic bombs nor missiles are going to “end the virus.”

The coronavirus pandemic has killed 130,000 people worldwide, according to the WHO.

“This is a sign from God, who is telling us that you are going astray by spending billions of dollars on atomic bombs, on military bases and alliances,” Ortega said. “Those transnational forces that are just ambitions for world domination, that is sin, and the Lord is sending us this sign.”

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