Coronavirus: Bolivia postpones elections, announces nationwide 14-day quarantine

Bolivian citizens make purchases at a market in La Paz, March 20, 2020.
Bolivian citizens make purchases at a market in La Paz, March 20, 2020.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LA PAZ (AFP) - Bolivia's interim government announced on Saturday (March 21) it would postpone presidential elections originally slated for May 3 and institute a mandatory countrywide quarantine for 14 days as coronavirus spread across the Andean nation.

The country's electoral authority said in a statement it would "suspend the elections calendar" for 14 days to match the quarantine, but did not set a new date for the vote.

The tribunal said it would work together with all of the country´s political parties and organisations to determine when to hold the election.

Interim president Jeanine Anez earlier in the day told reporters the quarantine measure would begin Sunday and extend until April 4.

Bolivia earlier this week closed its borders and cancelled all international flights.

Anez said supermarkets, hospitals, banks and pharmacies would continue to operate as normal during the quarantine.

The government would provide cash payments to needy families with children beginning in April, she said.

Bolivia has confirmed 19 cases of coronavirus.