Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Paraguay further eases movement, business restrictions May 25-June 14, though other restrictions remain due to COVID-19 activity.

This alert affects Paraguay

This alert began 26 May 2020 11:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions, increased police presence

Summary
Authorities in Paraguay approved the start of Phase 2 of relaxing restrictions on movement and businesses implemented to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), beginning May 25. During this phase, which will be in effect until at least June 14, all persons are still required to remain indoors 2100-0500, and may only leave their homes during all other hours for essential tasks and exercise. Nonetheless, some restrictions on daytime movements have been eased. The minimum age for physical isolation has been increased from 60 to 65. The government has also suspended vehicular restrictions according to the last digit of the license plate.

Businesses and individuals are required to enforce strict social and physical distancing protocols and enhanced sanitation measures, and all persons are required to wear a mask over their mouths and noses in all public spaces. In addition to previously authorized businesses and services which reopened under Phase 1 May 4, the following businesses, facilities, and activities are approved under Phase 2:

  • All commercial premises may reopen, including shopping malls (except common areas).
  • Corporate offices may operate at 50 percent capacity and with staggered shifts.
  • Cultural and artistic sectors can resume for training and rehearsals, and performances without an audience.
  • Professional athletes may perform training individually.
  • Private clubs and parks may open for individual physical activity.
  • Baptisms and marriages, or equivalents in different religions, may be performed with up to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Persons over the age of 65 may exercise 0500-1000, while those between the ages of 10-64 can exercise 1030-2000 for up to two hours a day, within 500 meters of their home.


The international borders will remain closed, and suspension of all commercial passenger flights at all airports will continue until further notice. Officials will make limited exceptions for repatriation flights. Cargo is still permitted to cross borders. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Paraguayan government are similar to those taken by governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. President Mario Abdo Benitez implemented the "Smart Quarantine" May 4 to allow for reopening of the economy while maintaining adequate standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The exact nature and time frame of the different phases of the Smart Quarantine has not been announced. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in further relaxation of restrictions.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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