While countries around the globe continue implementing unprecedented measures and ban large public gatherings to halt the spread of coronavirus, the government of Nicaragua has done just the opposite as part of its response to the pandemic.
In order to support those affected by the virus, Nicaragua’s government has organized massive public rallies across the country under the slogan "Love Walk in the Time of Covid-19," resembling the title of the novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Love in the Time of Cholera.”
Hundreds of people took part in the rally in the capital Managua on Saturday and in rallies held simultaneously in other cities across the nation.
As of Saturday, Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health has not reported any positive cases. The ministry said “epidemiological surveillance” has been implemented at airports and borders, and 19 hospitals have been equipped specifically to treat patients experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.
Contrary to other countries in the region, Nicaragua has not yet established mandatory quarantine for people coming from countries affected by the pandemic, or restrictions on the movement of people entering the country.
Supporters of President Daniel Ortega's government and state workers marched with red and black flags of the ruling FSLN party and carried posters with health tips for proper hand washing.
Nicaragua’s First Lady Rosario Murillo said:
We are going to walk with the strength of faith and hope throughout the country, in permanent prayer and solidarity with all the people, families and brothers and sisters in the world, affected by the coronavirus.”
In a joint statement, opposition groups Alianza Civica and Unidad Nacional Azúl y Blanco expressed their strong rejection to this kind of mobilization, because of the health risks for participants.
The opposition statement said:
We call on the regime not to call for public marches or crowds, which is one of the main ways of contagion. Forcing public workers and their families to march is an act of irresponsibility and certainly exposes them to danger."