Paraguay’s early response to the coronavirus outbreak helped the nation secure a significantly low number of infections and deaths, the Paraguayan ambassador to Turkey said Tuesday. 

“The measures taken early by the Paraguayan government made it possible today to be one of the countries with the lowest level of COVID-19 contagion and deaths in the South American region,” said Ceferino Valdez Peralta.

“As the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the world, Paraguay wasted no time in establishing strict measures of social distancing in early March, before its neighboring countries,” he said during a virtual conference organized by Ankara University’s Center for Latin American Studies.

Valdez said educational institutions closed and massive events were suspended in the second week of March. Those measures were followed by the immediate closure of borders and airports and a total quarantine.

The ambassador said the four-phased reopening of the economy started in early May with 58% of the economic reactivated during the first phase.

The country is currently on phase three since June 15, with some districts on phase two or lower. The fourth phase is expected to start in July.

As the curve for the COVID-19 pandemic flattens or falls in many parts of the world, the virus continues to spread across the Latin American region.

Paraguay has 1,296 confirmed cases and 12 deaths, according to a running tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University. It has recorded 673 recoveries.

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