Puerto Rico Closes Police Stations Amidst Covid-19 Curfew

SAN JUAN: Puerto Rico It closed its fifth police station in a week on Wednesday, raising concerns about the ability of the United States to respond to the pandemic, as officials accused the government of exposing Covid-19 to one of the largest police departments in the an American jurisdiction.

More than 150 officers are quarantined as dozens wait for test results on an island that has reported 11 deaths and more than 280 confirmed cases amid a month-long curfew that has closed beaches, parks and nonessential businesses.

It is not fair that the government is shuffling. What do they want? To be left without the police? said, vice president of a local police union that demanded more protective gear.

The first police station to close is in the popular resort town of Rincon, where an officer's 42-year-old wife recently died of Covid-19.

Police stations in Caimito, Moca and San Germán are also closed.

Matias said the union requested protective gear two months ago, but received hardly any. We are cannon fodder, he said.

Police Commissioner Henry Escalera told The Associated Press that officers have items including gloves and hand sanitizers, and that his department is awaiting delivery of more items that will allow him to distribute 30 face masks to each officer, along with gowns. protective.

There's a shortage, he said. We hope that they will arrive. Puerto Rico also has closed a 911 call center, a fire station in the island's capital, a medical emergency response office and a municipal emergency management office.

Critics are demanding that the government investigate who police officers, including inmates and prosecutors, have contacted, warning that the virus may be more widespread than estimated, as police have been detaining hundreds of people. that violate a curfew that is one of the strictest in any jurisdiction in the US. USA .