Rights watchdog criticises Nicaragua for poor COVID-19 response as president reappears

Amnesty International has criticized the Nicaraguan government for its relaxed approach to the coronavirus pandemic after the country’s president reappeared for the first time in a month.

The London-based aid organization said on Thursday that the Nicaraguan government has endangered thousands of lives by failing to introduce social distancing policies and allowing mass gatherings.

Ruled by the left-wing Sandinistas, the state has not moved to ban mass gatherings or control borders to limit the spread of the disease, unlike much of the rest of the world.

During Holy Week the government organized a number of events, including music festivals.

The comments came as President Daniel Ortega addressed the nation on Wednesday evening, following a month-long absence that led to speculation about his health.

The 74-year-old said that the coronavirus is a sign from God to countries that are wrongly spending billions on nuclear bombs.

He also defended his country’s response to the pandemic saying that they had acted responsibly.

“If we stop working here, the country will die. And if the country dies, the people die and are wiped out,” Ortega said.

He made reference to the world’s coronavirus epicenter – the U.S., saying the “largest military and economic power in the history of mankind” does not have the capacity to take care of the people in its big cities.

Only one person has been reported to have died as a result of the novel coronavirus in Nicaragua, according to the World Health Organisation. (NAN)

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