Authorities in Paraguay have announced that business and movement restrictions will be reimposed for the department of Alto Parana through until at least August 16, amid a spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Only essential trips, such as for food and medicine, will be permitted. Under the restrictions, businesses will be permitted to open between 05:00 and 17:00 (local time).
International borders remain closed, and all commercial passenger flights are suspended until further notice. Additionally, all persons are required to wear protective face coverings in all public places.
Paraguay began easing restrictions from May 4 through a four-phased system. Phase 4 was introduced nationwide on July 20, with regional exceptions. Phase 4 allows for social gatherings of no more than ten people, among other measures, combined with the activities permitted in Phase 1, 2, and 3. The departments of Asuncion and Central remain on Phase 3, which saw the limited reopening of restaurants, outdoor exercise for up to two people, and religious activities in groups of up to 20 people. The full measures can be viewed on Paraguay's Ministry of Health website.
As of Wednesday, August 5, there are 5852 COVID-19 cases in Paraguay, including 59 fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, individuals are advised to abide the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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