March 21, 2020 / 12:24 AM / 8 days ago

Dominican government orders curfew to slow spread of coronavirus

SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - The government of the Dominican Republic ordered a nationwide nighttime curfew over the next two weeks in a bid to sharply limit movement and prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, officials said on Friday.

President Danilo Medina issued the order, which prohibits the movement of people from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. The curfew will go into effect Friday night and extend through at least April 3.

The measure includes exceptions for health workers and those who require medical help, private security, press and electricity workers.

Public transportation in the Caribbean island nation, including the capital’s subway system, will suspend service indefinitely from Saturday, as well as bus services operated by private companies.

The curfew follows Medina’s decision to seal the country’s borders, suspend commercial flights and ships as well as close schools and entertainment venues.

The closures were originally part of a 15-day state of emergency issued by the president, which was extended to 25 days following approval by the Dominican Congress on Thursday.

The Dominican Republic’s sole land border is with Haiti, and restrictions at the border began on Monday, the day Dominican health officials reported the island nation’s first fatality attributed to coronavirus.

Since then, a second fatality due to coronavirus has been reported, with the number of persons infected with the highly contagious virus now at 72, according to Health Minister Rafael Sanchez Cardenas.

Reporting by Ezequiel Abiu Lopez; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Leslie Adler

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