Protesters set barricades on fire on the Puente de la Amistad (Friendship Bridge) in Ciudad del Este (Alto Paraná department) on Wednesday night, July 29. The demonstrators have gathered following the announcement earlier on Wednesday that the department of Alto Paraná would return to almost full quarantine measures due to the rate of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections. Riot police were deployed to disperse the crowd and have fired rubber pellets and tear gas at the demonstrators, who have also thrown projectiles at security forces. Similar protests have reportedly been witnessed in other parts of Alto Paraná on Wednesday, including Minga Guazú and Hernandarias.
Further unrest in Alto Parana is expected over the coming hours and days.
The Paraguayan government announced on Wednesday that Alto Paraná department would return to almost full quarantine for two weeks due to high infection rates of COVID-19. Many non-essential businesses will have to close, apart from some factories and civil construction works. The decision was made as the department represents 40 percent of the total cases recorded so far in Paraguay and a third of the deaths. There are fears over the current capacity of existing ICU units in the region to cope. Paraguay entered a "smart quarantine" on May 4, with a phased relaxation of lockdown measures, which are being implemented at different stages depending on the regional infection rate.
Individuals in Alto Paraná are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence, and obey instructions issued by local authorities.
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