Here’s the unusual step Peru and Panama are taking in the pandemic fight

Unlike most other countries in the world, who are practicing social distancing without locking down their entire nation, the governments of Peru and Panama are trying something different: They’re only allowing women and men to leave their homes on opposite days of the week to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

The thinking behind the decision is that fewer people out in public will decrease the number of cases in the countries. The governments are only allowing women to leave on three specific days of the week and men on the opposite days. No one in either country is allowed to leave on Sunday

There are some loopholes, such as the governments allowing essential workers to leave on days outside of their gender-specific day. 

The government of Panama said it had no choice but to institute the restrictions because people were ignoring the mandatory quarantines in the country. Officials said it’s easier to track people who are breaking the rules if the rules are gender-based. 

The Peruvian government said the restrictions are in place until at least April 12. It’s unclear how long Panama will continue with the gender-divided days. 

As of April 10, Peru ranked No. 31 in the world with 5,256 confirmed coronavirus cases (with 138 deaths), while Panama ranked 43rd with 2,752 cases and 66 deaths. 

On May 8, though, Peru said it would extend a national lockdown for another two weeks because its coronavirus cases had risen rapidly. As of May 8, Peru ranked No. 13 in the world, while Panama was No. 48.

Sources: NPR, BBC, Anadolu Agency, Johns Hopkins

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