April 4, 2020 / 2:28 AM / 2 months ago

Thousands of Central Americans detained for flaunting coronavirus rules

Detained men are placed in a cell for breaking the curfew, imposed as part of the government's measures against the fast-spreading coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Guatemala City, Guatemala April 3, 2020. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

GUATEMALA CITY/TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Thousands of people have been detained across Central America for violating rules put in place by their governments to curb the fast-spreading new coronavirus in a region that has fewer medical resources than developed countries.

Central America is home to a large, poor population with no options to work from home, take paid sick leave or observe social distancing rules because they work in the informal economy and live in crowded conditions.

Honduran authorities said about 2,250 people have been arrested for violating the curfew imposed since mid-March while Guatemalan authorities said 5,705 people had been detained for leaving their homes without justification.

In Panama, more than 5,000 people have been detained in recent weeks for violating curfew rules; another 424 people have been detained for not complying with recent rules that limit men and women leaving the house to alternate days.

Meanwhile, in El Salvador, 712 people have been detained for failing to comply with the mandatory home quarantine decreed by President Nayib Bukele, and have been taken to containment centers.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City, Gustavo Palencia in Tegucipalpa, Elida Moreno in Panama City and Nelson Renteria in San Salvador; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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