El Salvador supreme court rebukes president's decree to reopen economy

FILE PHOTO: A paramedic of Doctors Without Borders, who provide an ambulance service to poor and violence-stricken communities in the eastern metropolitan area of San Salvador, attends a patient with a possible case of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Soyapango, El Salvador July 28, 2020. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - The constitutional chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court of Justice on Friday declared an executive decree that would establish protocols for the gradual reopening of the economy as unconstitutional.

President Nayib Bukele and Congress have clashed over how to manage the pandemic and the country’s gradual reopening.

Bukele had released an executive decree on July 29 that set out a calendar for a gradual reopening of the poor Central American economy.

But in its ruling, the court stated that the new measures “contradict constitutional parameters established” earlier to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Early on, Bukele had taken some of the strictest measures in the region.

“In every country in the world, governments are ordering reopening, gradually, to control the pandemic,” he said on Twitter. “In El Salvador, today that is also unconstitutional.”

So far, El Salvador has reported 19,544 confirmed cases and 520 deaths.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria in San Salvador; writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Sandra Maler