Relatives of inmates gather outside La Modelo jail in Bogota, Colombia, on Sunday. Ivan Valencia/AP
Panic over the spread of the coronavirus sparked a prison riot in Colombia that killed 23 inmates on Sunday, as Chile became the latest Latin American country to announce restrictions on movement.
Rioting swept through the crowded jail overnight in the Colombian capital Bogota amid rising tensions over the virus in the penitentiary system.
Justice Minister Margarita Cabello described the violence as an attempted mass breakout, part of what she said was a coordinated plan with inmates who caused disturbances in 13 jails across the country.
The minister rejected accusations by rights groups that the riots were sparked by unsanitary conditions inside a prison system that was woefully unprepared to face the pandemic.
A curfew in Chile "will take effect throughout the national territory from 10:00 pm to 05:00 am the next day," Health Minister Jaime Manalich announced Sunday. The country, which has 632 infections, registered its first death from the pandemic at the weekend.
Ecuador, which implemented a curfew on Tuesday, marked its highest daily increase in deaths and new cases on Sunday, with 14 dead and 789 affected.
The number of fatalities rose from seven on Saturday at 2200 GMT to 14 on Sunday at 1500 GMT, while the infected surged from 532 to 789, according to the country's National Risk and Emergency Management Service.
Ecuador has the region's second-greatest number of deaths after Brazil's 18.
The news comes as governments in the region are stepping up efforts to try to slow the spread of the pandemic, which has claimed 13,500 lives. worldwide
Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador and Paraguay are among a growing number of countries to impose a total lockdown of their populations.
Colombia will join the group from midnight on Tuesday with a 19-day mandatory lockdown of its 48 million population.
Demonstrators gathered in major cities under the slogan "defending the peace" to denounce the deaths. 462 campaigners have been killed since 2016, according to the country's ombudsman.
Elsewhere in Europe, frustrations with COVID-19 curbs were spilling over, with scuffles breaking out at a large anti-restrictions protest in the German city of Kassel, and thousands joining a similar demonstration in Liestal, Switzerland.
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