El Salvador to move to second stage of economic reopening

Outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - El Salvador will move to the second phase of reopening its economy, President Nayib Bukele said on Saturday, though cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise in the Central American country.

Starting on July 21, the manufacturing, footwear, paper and cardboard industries will reopen, as well as public transport, under a plan outlined by the government last month.

Bukele and El Salvador's congress have clashed over how to manage the pandemic. Lawmakers have so far refused to approve a request from Bukele's government for new emergency measures to restrict the movement of people.

"If we are not going to lower infections because they do not give us the tools, there is no point in postponing phase two of the economic reopening," the president at a news conference.

El Salvador has registered 11,508 total cases of coronavirus and 324 deaths.

(Reporting by Nelson RenteriaL editing by Jonathan Oatis)