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Paraguay president dismisses ministers over mishandling of COVID pandemic

Asuncion: Paraguay’s President Mario Abdo Benítez on Saturday sacked three of his ministers in response to the violent protests over the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Abodo said he has sacked the ministers for education and women’s affairs, and his chief of staff, had been replaced. The health minister had earlier resigned on Friday.

Opposition parties have demanded the resignation of President Abdo and called for new elections accusing his right-wing government of widespread corruption, BBC reported.

Paraguay has so far registered more than 165,000 cases of coronavirus and about 3,200 deaths. A steady rise in cases in recent weeks has brought the country’s health system to the brink of collapse.

Additionally, the rollout of vaccines has been slow with latest data showing that less than 0.1% of the population has received a jab. Health workers have said that they have run out of medicines to treat COVID-19 patients.

Late on Friday, thousands of people including health workers and relatives of COVID patients took to the streets of the capital, Asunción, and other cities to protest the governments handling of the COVID crisis, accusing it of stealing millions of dollars that could have been used to deal with the health emergency.

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