Caracas (AFP)

Many Latin American countries took new measures on Saturday to resist the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in their territories.

In Venezuela, where two cases of contamination have been confirmed, all travelers arriving from Europe in March will have to undergo a "compulsory quarantine of two weeks", announced Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez.

"This measure will allow, as president (Nicolas) Maduro said, to break the chain of transmission (of the virus) at the right time," said Rodriguez during a television address.

The day before, the vice-president had announced that two first cases of the new coronavirus had been confirmed in the country.

- "State of emergency" -

Venezuela has been on alert since Friday. Air links with Europe and Colombia have been suspended for a month and educational institutions - from kindergarten to university - will close their doors from Monday.

The decision of the president of neighboring Colombia, Ivan Duque, to close the seven land border crossings with Venezuela was described as "grotesque" on Saturday by the Venezuelan vice-president, according to which she "encourages the crossing by other roads (...) where there is no epidemiological control ".

Colombia and Venezuela no longer have diplomatic relations. Colombia is one of some sixty countries that want Maduro to step down from power and that has recognized the opponent Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela.

In Caracas, many residents wore protective masks on Saturday. In supermarkets, customers bought large quantities of water, pasta or canned food.

"You never know, maybe they will declare a curfew," said 57-year-old Andreina Rubio, whose bags were overflowing with bottles of water at the checkout of a Caracas supermarket .

In Bolivia, where ten cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed, the suspension until the end of March of all direct flights to and from Europe came into effect on Saturday. The government has also announced a ban on the entry of travelers from the most affected countries.

Ecuador, which recorded a second death on Saturday from the coronavirus, out of a total of 28 reported cases, will close its borders to all foreigners from Monday. Among the contamination cases detected are a Swedish and a Dutch.

Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner announced that no foreigner could enter the country from Monday and for 21 days.

- Health emergency -

In Guatemala, President Alejandro Giammatei announced the suspension of classes in all educational establishments in the country and the ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.

The president said the measures would be in effect for 21 days from Sunday.

Uruguay, where 14 cases have been identified and which had declared Friday a health emergency and a partial closure of its borders, announced Saturday the suspension of courses for 14 days in all educational establishments.

Mexico has also taken a series of measures such as suspension of courses, non-essential public and private activities, and called on its citizens to restrict their trips abroad.

The course stop in educational institutions will be in effect from March 23 to April 19.

The government has also recommended that citizens limit their travel within Mexico and also to other countries.

The number of cases of coronavirus contamination in Mexico rose to 41, against 26 the day before.

In Panama, where 43 cases have been recorded, President Laurentino Cortizo announced on Saturday the ban on flights arriving from Europe and Asia.

The parliament of El Salvador approved on the night of Saturday to Sunday a government proposal to temporarily restrict the freedoms of movement and assembly, in order to help fight the spread of the virus.

And the Dominican Republic has decided to suspend for a month from Monday flights from Europe, China, South Korea and Iran. The country currently has eleven cases of contamination.

© 2020 AFP