This mayor has been arrested after allowing a local festival to go ahead which a man who later died from COVID-19 attended and the city then saw a spike in cases.
The festival which honours Saint Joseph took place between 12th – 16th March in the city of Patacamaya located in the department La Paz Department in western Bolivia near the nation’s capital with Mayor Tiburcio Choque’s blessing.
The festival was celebrated with no restriction despite the mayor receiving a letter from authorities on 12th March telling him to cancel the event.
Local media report several people attended the festival which included some travelling from the neighbouring countries of Peru and Chile.
A reported 600 or more people attended the festival along with musical guests despite Bolivia having already implemented a lockdown country to avoid further spreading COVID-19.
Mayor Choque was arrested reportedly on Tuesday 7th April and festival organisers Fredy Perez Callisaya and Adela Apaza Gutierrez were also arrested for posing a serious risk to public health.
An elderly man who went to the festival reportedly died just days after. His cause of death was confirmed to be COVID-19 as cases of the virus now continue to rise in the city. The man’s named has not been reported.
Event organisers Perez Callisaya and Apaza Gutierrez were reportedly sentenced to three years in prison, with the sentence suspended but they will remain under supervision by a court.
Choque has not been sentenced and is due to have a hearing but will spend three months in preventative custody, according to reports.
It is unclear when the hearing is set to take place.
District Attorney Mario Antonio Cossio told local media: “The Public Ministry gave the corresponding orders of their apprehension which were executed this Tuesday to start the investigation of the events.”
According to the latest figures by Johns Hopkins University, there have been 246 cases of COVID-19 in Bolivia leading to 18 deaths.
To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.