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Security & Strategic Review - June 2020

PARAGUAY: Corruption threatens coronavirus response

Paraguay appears to have been largely successful in its containment of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. As of the end of May, it had fewer than 1,000 confirmed cases, and just 11 deaths. A spike in reported cases in early May was largely due to the arrival of Paraguayan nationals from Brazil, importing infections. Arrivals from abroad are forced to quarantine in designated hostels for two weeks, which has avoided placing undue pressure on Paraguay’s unprepared health system. Local transmission rates are low, and quarantine measures have begun to be carefully lifted. Perhaps aided by this, the economy looks set to suffer less than those of other Latin American countries [RBS-20-05]. Paraguay has not, however, avoided what is the scourge of the region’s public sector: corruption. Evidence of fraud in the health ministry now risks overshadowing an otherwise well-regarded response to the pandemic.

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