New State of Calamity

Guatemala President Requests New State of Calamity to Combat Covid-19

A look at the measures in the new State of Calamity requested last night by President Alejandro Giammattei to Guatemala’s legislature.

Guatemala‘s legislature ended up refusing to ratify Giammattei’s request for a new State of Calamity last month, so he’s presenting a new, stricter, proposal.

In a televised address, President Giammattei outlined the restrictions he wanted to impose. He also went on Twitter to enunciate each point.

Below are the details outlined in the new State of Calamity proposal:

  • A restriction of any group gatherings for at least the next four weeks. This includes all sports activities, any gatherings for celebration/commemoration (weddings, parties, etc.), clubs, gyms, etc. All religious , sports, and educational activities must be carried out online.
  • A lengthened curfew (mobility restriction). From 8:00 PM to 4:00 AM everyone must now stay inside, at home. Those exempt from the curfew include essential workers, healthcare workers, people needing emergency healthcare (and those in treatment for chronic diseases), lawyers, journalists, and others. Travelers arriving in Guatemala by air during curfew are also exempt, but need to apply for a certificate of safe conduct.

Businesses can continue to remain open outside of the curfew hours as long as they maintain existing protocols on social distancing, masks, and hand hygiene.

In his request for these new restrictions, President Giammattei said that limiting movement at night would help the health system, which right now is close to collapse, according to the government.

Guatemala has the highest amount of confirmed deaths from Covid-19 in Central America (although in fairness, it also has the largest population), with over 12,000 so far.

It also has the second-lowest rate of vaccination in the region, despite a ramp-up of efforts. This week, Panama placed Guatemala on its list of high-risk countries, due to its Covid situation.

The new restrictions in Guatemala go into place effective immediately, according to Prensa Libre, until (the government hopes) October 1. The legislature needs to vote on them in the coming days, to determine whether that happens or not.

James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.