As of 6 April 2020, a number of governments across the Americas continue to impose restrictions, including extending states of emergency, in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Most countries in the region remain under lockdown or quarantine. Currently, the countries with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region are Brazil (11,281), Chile (4,471) and Ecuador (3,646). Significant developments in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Peru and St. Kitts and Nevis are outlined below.
In Brazil, on 4 April authorities in the northeastern state of Paraíba extended social distancing measures imposed across the state’s 223 municipalities until at least 19 April. The state order advises residents to self-isolate in their homes and restrict outside travel to essential activities such as to procure food and medicine or seek emergency medical care. Nonessential businesses and public gathering places, such as shopping centers, remain closed. On 3 April the federal government extended the closure of Brazil’s land borders with Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, French Guiana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela to foreign nationals for 30 days. However, exemptions to the closures include Brazilian nationals, permanent residents and diplomats, as well as cargo and cross-border humanitarian activities. Additionally, foreign nationals who seek to cross the Brazilian border to embark on an international flight back to their country of residence are allowed to enter with authorization from the federal police.
In the Dominican Republic, the government introduced new travel restrictions on 4 April prohibiting travel between municipalities. Police officers and General Directorate of Traffic Safety and Ground Transportation (DIGGESETT) agents deployed throughout the country to enforce the restrictions. Cargo and essential supply deliveries are exempt from the order.
In Guyana, on 3 April authorities extended travel restrictions and other emergency measures until 3 May. All residents are required to stay in their homes, except to procure food and medicine, or to seek emergency medical care. A nationwide nightly curfew is in effect from 1800-0600 local time (2200-1000 UTC). Public gatherings of any kind are prohibited. Nonessential businesses remain closed and essential businesses — such as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks — are only permitted to operate from 0600-1700 local time. Religious facilities are closed except to perform essential services, such as funerals, although no more than five attendees are permitted. Public transportation services remain operational, but cannot exceed 50% occupancy in order to allow for appropriate social distancing. Furthermore, Timehri’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport (SYCJ/GEO) and Georgetown’s Eugene F. Correia International Airport (SYEC/OGL) remain closed for international commercial flight operations. Essential services personnel and commercial cargo operations are exempt from the aforementioned restrictions.
In Mexico, officials announced on 5 April that Mexican army and navy personnel will deploy to the city at a date to be determined in order to strengthen the city’s security posture during the public health emergency. While there have been no reports of heightened unrest in the capital region since the public health epidemic announcement on 31 March, officials are preparing and taking precautions due to the city’s status as the national capital and major transportation hub for domestic and international travel. In addition, a number of measures were implemented, including the suspension of all public, private and nonessential businesses until at least 30 April. Essential businesses — such as grocery stores and pharmacies — are exempt from the order and remain open.
In Peru, new movement restrictions went into effect on 3 April, and will remain until at least 12 April. Under the orders, men can only leave their homes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while women can only leave their homes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. No movements are allowed on Sundays, as all banks, markets, pharmacies and shops are closed. The nightly curfew from 1800-0500 local time (2300-1000 UTC) remains in effect. Security forces are enforcing the measures. Individuals traveling to airports for flights on prearranged transport are exempt from the restrictions.
In St. Kitts and Nevis, authorities extended the country’s state of emergency and nationwide 24-hour curfew on 4 April until 0600 local time (1000 UTC) on 8 April. After the curfew expires, residents will be permitted to leave their homes to obtain food and medicine on 8 and 9 April from 0600 to 1900 local time. Only essential personnel — such as security, utilities, emergency and medical workers — will be allowed to travel during the curfew hours. While the curfew is expected to end on 8 April, it is likely that the measure will be extended due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in St. Kitts and Nevis. To date, there are 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in St. Kitts and Nevis.