cynthia castro and her family

An Interview Cynthia Castro: Our One ATTA Time In Country Liason | Experiencing Covid-19 in El Salvador

Experiencing Covid-19 in El Salvador

An Interview with Cynthia Castro: Our In Country Liason

How is Covid-19 impacting El Salvador and what is the situation there?

Here in El Salvador it has been a whirlwind.  The country was shutting down all schools.  Our businesses, factories, hotels and restaurants are closed. The President has implemented the most restrictive mass quarantine in Central America.  The government is very concerned because of the weak and precarious healthcare system, which is leading them to take extreme preventive measures. The President ordered the construction of a temporary hospital in the Capital.

Health in El Salvador

 On March 21st the president confirmed the first positive coronavirus case and he implemented a national military quarantine for 30 days. Only one person per family is allowed to step out for groceries. If we violate the country quarantine they will take us to containment centers (all the positive cases are in these shelters) for 30 more days, surrounded by strangers.

As of today, El Salvador has had a total of 46 cases and 2 have passed away.  Those low case numbers may reflect the lower testing levels.

The Economy in El Salvador

Last week, thousands gathered outside of a government building in the capital to demand the $300 government checks the President promised to some of the households who work as street vendors and other jobs in the informal economy.  El Salvador is taking steps to limit the economic impact for people and businesses, including suspending, for three months, the charge for some services like electricity, water personal loans etc. Once the three months are up payment of the charges accrued will be spread over two years.

Definitely, on the economic front, one of the most important shocks for El Salvador will be to tourism (creating lots of investing opportunities), infrastructure, etc.   El Salvador receives more than 2 million tourists annually, so this will have a large economic impact upon us.

Cynthia, how is this situation affecting you personally?

 I don’t see myself as a fearful or paranoid person, but talking about the precarious health system here in El Salvador makes me feel a little scared. Right now we are thankful to be healthy, but it doesn’t matter if we are healthy (my husband my baby and me) we still must quarantine.  I have to do my part and not put others at risk and not  compromise the weak health system. Also, I know El Salvador is on an economic road to nowhere, but I have made a decision to trust God whatever happens. I have been trying to be proactive about reaching out to others in the communities where I work for One ATTA Time, asking how they are doing. I really love they can be able to experience the perception of support, meaning support from a distance. I really miss going to the communities be in touch with the people and all the kids in the schools. Some days can be harder than others, but I am trying to remember why I need to stay at home. And to be sure that when everything is over, we will continue taking care of all the people here in my Country to keep working and providing them fresh clean drinking water as a part of our One ATTA Time efforts to bring health and hope.

 Are you able to continue to help provide clean water to families in need?

Definitely yes!  I really hope after the 30 days of military quarantine we will be.  I hope to have a permit to circulate. With that, I will be able to go to the communities. I hope this goes away really soon. I know it is in God’s hands, we just have to stay positive and pray.

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