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El Salvador warns tougher action against violations of coronavirus quarantine


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The president of El Salvador warned on Monday that security forces had been ordered to enforce quarantine orders more rigorously to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, confining offenders to "containment centers" and confiscating their cars.

"The restrictions are the same, but we are going to be much tougher to enforce them," President Nayib Bukele said in a televised address to the impoverished central American nation of around 6 million people.

In neighboring Honduras, the security ministry said it would temporarily ban the carrying of firearms for everyone except those transporting, food, cargo and other goods deemed essential during the health crisis.

Bukele, said he had instructed his security and defense ministers take firmer action enforcing quarantine measures in the country, which has confirmed 78 cases of the virus, with four deaths so far.

In addition to having their cars confiscated, those who violate the quarantine orders will also be taken to "containment centers" for 30 days, Bukele said.

He added that national quarantine measures would be extended by 15 days, without specifying the precise date when they would end. Bukele also outlined a plan to track down people who are carriers of the virus and place them in observation.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria; writing by Julia Love; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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