SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele said on Monday he would propose to lawmakers to gradually re-open the economy from June 6, in the wake of strict curbs to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the small Central American nation.
He also said he would abide by a Supreme Court decision from earlier in the day to suspend the state of emergency he declared at the weekend, when previous orders were set to expire, without congressional approval.
The renewal would have kept the emergency declaration in force for the next 30 days, extending measures such as school suspensions and a ban on movement in certain areas with high numbers of infections.
Such measures and other drastic actions - such as releasing startling photos of gang members seated semi-naked on a jail floor as a form of punishment - have prompted criticism that 38-year-old Bukele has shown authoritarian tendencies and exceeded his powers.
The Supreme Court said in its order that the decision was temporary pending a more extensive review.
Bukele said he would propose the economy reboot plan to Congress on Tuesday, on the condition that it would follow a strict two-week lockdown.
“It must be approved this Thursday by Congress so that we can have a strict and total quarantine for 15 days to lower the curve and defend the health of Salvadorans,” he said at a news conference.
The country has 1,338 confirmed cases of infection and 30 known coronavirus-related deaths.
Reporting by Nelson Renteria, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Michael Perry