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Nicaraguan government reports more than 1,000 COVID-19 infections, still far below independent counts

June 3, 2020

The Nicaraguan government reported on Tuesday a weekly increase of 359 new coronavirus cases and 11 more deaths, according to a report from the Health Ministry.

That brings the official total number of cases to 1,118 and the death toll to 46 — both well below independent counts.

Over the last week, the Nicaraguan government says, other deaths attributed to pulmonary thromboembolism, diabetes, acute myocardial infarction, hypertensive crisis and bacterial pneumonia were reported in parallel.

Independent experts suspect that many of those other deaths are in fact related to the coronavirus, which is spreading through the country due to the few preventive measures that the government has taken.

The new weekly data was released shortly after the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned that coronavirus transmission “is very difficult to control” in Nicaragua.

The official figures are well below the independent count of the Citizen Observatory, which through May 27 had tallied 3,725 cases and 715 deaths from the new coronavirus, mainly in Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa and Chinandega.

The Citizen Observatory has served as an alternative source to the information gap created by Daniel Ortega’s government. It’s comprised of doctors and community networks that collect information on suspected coronavirus cases.

The report further documented “28 suspected deaths of COVID-19 among health personnel.”

The organization is not recognized by the Ortega government, which has refused to order quarantines or suspend classes. On the contrary, it had promoted sporting events and processions.

Given the increase in infections, 34 medical associations and private companies called to initiate a “national voluntary quarantine” to contain the spread of the virus.

The request was accepted by the main business association, and several large companies began to heed the call.

“The increase in the number of cases and deaths reported by official and unofficial sources shows that community transmission is in a very difficult situation to control,” said Ciro Ugarte, PAHO director of Health Emergencies, on Tuesday.

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