El Salvador political stalemate a drag on pandemic response

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — For months, the strictest measures confronting the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America seemed to keep infections in check in El Salvador, but a gradual reopening combined with a political stalemate has seen infections increase nearly fourfold. Other countries have seen similar surges in infections following a loosening of restrictions, but the standoff between President Nayib Bukele and the Legislative Assembly appears to be compounding the country’s problem as its hospitals near collapse. Bukele is demanding emergency powers and says he has been reduced to a “hospital administrator.” Lawmakers in the opposition-controlled congress argue the president can confront the pandemic without violating constitutional rights.