SAN SALVADOR – The Salvadoran town of Santa Tecla has implemented an unusual method to promote social distancing among its citizens and avoid more COVID-19 infections.
Juan Carlos Gutierrez, who identified himself as an “agent of change,” told EFE on Tuesday that the project consists of volunteers each wearing a hula hoop made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and measuring approximately two meters in diameter. They walk through the areas with the greatest concentrations of people to separate them.
“The objective is to separate people who are in a group and not applying social distancing… We seek to raise awareness so that people keep physical distance of two meters at (bus) stops and in other places,” the young man said.
The project, promoted by the municipal mayor of Santa Tecla, was implemented on Monday and includes the delivery of masks and hand sanitizer to people who need them.
Gutierrez said that there are 12 “agents of change” that have been deployed in the center of the municipality and the “priority is also to help the elderly so that people do not get too close to them, because they are the most prone to contracting the disease.”
“People get confused and think that they have to walk with the hoop, but in reality we are the ones who walk through the busiest places to separate them,” he added.
The municipality of Santa Tecla has recorded 1,483 cases of COVID-19, which makes it the town with the highest number of infections in the department of La Libertad. Colon and Antiguo Cuscatlan follow with 419 and 274 cases, respectively.
Overall, El Salvador has recorded 26,511 cases, of which 9,284 are active, 765 people have died, and 16,462 have been discharged from medical care.
This Central American country, which suddenly reactivated its economy on Aug. 24, registered its highest number of infections on Aug. 9 with 449 confirmed cases, before numbers dropped for more than 20 consecutive days to reach 84 infections on Sept. 1.
However, cases have slowly started to rise again, and are expected to increase after two weeks of the almost total reactivation of the economy.