President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador calls for national prayer against COVID-19

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has called on citizens to pray collectively for the end of the novel coronavirus pandemic on Sunday.

Believers should join in prayer in their homes at 2 p.m. local time (2000 GMT), the president said on Facebook on Friday.

Salvadorans will ask God to “heal our land and allow us to defeat the pandemic which is battering the whole world,” Bukele said.

The National Prayer Day was instituted through a presidential decree, Bukele said, but added that the prayers were “voluntary” in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.


El Salvador has confirmed 1,725 COVID-19 infections and 33 deaths so far.

“The curve is not flattening as we had hoped for,” Bukele tweeted on Friday.

His government was among the first in the region to close borders and to impose restrictions.

Some of the measures, such as placing people refusing to isolate themselves in “containment centres” for 30 days, have put him on a collision course with the opposition-dominated parliament and the Supreme Court.

The court said the centres were unconstitutional, but Bukele has not closed them.

At a time when churches are closed, the National Prayer Day can “strengthen the hope and spirituality of the population,” the president said in his decree.