El Salvador restricts large gatherings amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Air carrier workers transport a container of China's Sinovac coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines at the Oscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport in San Luis Talpa, El Salvador, July 7, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/File Photo

SAN SALVADOR, July 13 (Reuters) - El Salvador's Congress on Tuesday suspended all public and private gatherings of large groups of people for a period of 90 days amid a rise in coronavirus infections, suspending concerts, rallies and sporting events and enforcing mandatory mask use.

Public transport, churches, bars, restaurants and nightclubs were not included in the closure. Commercial and labor activities were also not affected by the new measures.

"Mayors who hold festivities, carnivals, rallies or mass events in the next three months will be sanctioned with 100 minimum wages and criminally prosecuted for the crime of disobedience," Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said on Twitter.

El Salvador's minimum wage is $304.17 per month.

COVID-19 cases in El Salvador rose to 241 on July 10 from 134 on June 1, raising concern of a new wave of infections. El Salvador has reported 81,644 cases of COVID-19 and 2,457 deaths.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Sandra Maler

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