While most of the world is in a pandemic over the coronavirus covid-19, in Nicaragua there is no “Emergency” and all visitors, even from countries with confirmed cases of covid-19 will have no restrictions for moving around in Nicaragua
Even the projected mortality rate of up to 80% among patients who present the most serious complications from the Covid-19 virus in Nicaragua, the estimate of Ministry of Health (Minsa), is not a motivation for the Ortega-Murillo administration.
This estimate was contained in a leaked document obtained by Confidencial, which according to public health experts, the projection amounts to an admission that the government doesn’t have the capacity to respond to this pandemic, once a patient presents complications.
The Minsa document which Confidencial obtained and revealed on Thursday, March 12, calculates that six months after confirming the first case of the novel virus – Nicaragua has yet to confirm any case – some 32,500 people in the country will have contracted the illness and, of these, some 8,125 would have complications. They further anticipate that 1,016 would need the intensive care units, and 80% of them, some 800, would die.
The statistic “was put out there because they know that they are not going to have 800 deaths, and later they can say that there were no more than 10 or 15 deaths from the coronavirus because our health services were strong, we were efficient, and prepared,” Dr. Alejandro Lagos, who holds a masters in public health and hospital management, told Confidencial.
“With this projection, Minsa is practically saying that the most serious patients are only going to come to the hospital to die, as if it were a matter of helping them ‘die with dignity’, the doctor criticizes. That’s not the objective of a health system,” he emphasizes.
In its report of March 13, Confidencial writers Ivette Munguía and Juan Carlos Bow say “The hermetic silence from the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo regarding the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and the scant information being offered about how to prevent the illness has generated increased uncertainty in Nicaragua.”
In fact, rumors in the towns and municipalities across the country persist of patients with the coronavirus infection in hospitals and clinics, but, there are no official statements to confirm or deny what Nicaraguans believe.
Lack of information fertile ground for panic. Covid-19 is new. It is unknown. There are more questions than answers. There are all sorts of speculations, home remedies on the social networks that have a cure. But, so far, the truth if that a vaccine is far away, maybe a year or more.
Arguello said the state silence represents a “lack of prevention” of the pandemic, because the population isn’t being informed. As a result, “people get hysterical, enter into panic, begin to spend money, begin to create scarcity, and people in business take advantage of that.”
This week a supermarket chain restricted the sales of sanitizing products to avoid hoarding, and the supply of face masks is running out in some of the country’s pharmacies. Alcohol in liquid and gel form has also become scarce.
Vice President and first lady Rosario Murillo has centralized communication. The covid-19 has raised alarms in nearly all parts of the world. Italy has locked down the country, no one coming or out, movements within the country are restricted.
Closer to home, neighbors to the north and south have closed their borders. All foreigners are prohibited from entering those countries. El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica have all closed their borders. Nicaraguans who are naturalized or hold legal residency in Costa Rica can enter that country but must submit to a 14-day mandatory isolation.
Vice President Rosario Murillo reiterated in her daily noon monologue that “no type of quarantine” will be established for travelers. In addition, “the people with some tie to the epidemic that present symptoms can go to a unit of the health department for study and follow up.”
She explained that travelers that arrive from countries with confirmed cases of Covid-19 will have no restrictions for moving around in Nicaragua.
In addition to these measures, Minsa has stated that: “if there are cases that offer indications and test positive for the Coronavirus, they will be admitted to the established Health Unit to receive medical attention.
So while coronavirus spreads rapidly in Central America (Costa Rica has 50 cases confirmed, Honduras 8, Guatemala 6 confirmed and 1 death, and Panama with 69 confirmed cases and 1 reported death ), in Nicaragua the Ortega-Murillo regime refuses to declare a preventive quarantine.
Last Saturday, March 14, the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo called public employees and other supporters to attend rallies across the country in solidarity with the countries affected by the coronavirus, called “Love in Times of Covid-19”.