ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay-On Friday night, protesters clashed with the police as anger over the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis gradually spread to the streets and forced the country’s top health official to resign.
Security forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators gathered around the Capitol. The demonstrators broke the security barriers, burned down roadblocks, and threw stones at the police.
As the coronavirus infection reached record levels and hospitals across Paraguay were on the verge of closing down, protests broke out amid rising anger.
Earlier Friday, Health Minister Julio Mazzoleni resigned, and members of Congress asked him to be removed a day later.
Mr. Mazzoleni is the latest of several senior health officials in Latin America, who have been forced to resign in recent weeks because of growing concerns about the response to the pandemic and the slow progress of vaccination efforts.
To replace him, President Mario Abdo Benítez appointed Deputy Minister Dr. Julio Borba. Mr. Borba told reporters that he will start tracking medicines and supplies immediately.
According to Reuters statistics, Paraguay publishes a record number of cases every day, with 115 infections per 100,000 people in the past seven days. According to Reuters data, the country’s vaccination rate is less than 0.1% of its population.