Carrie Kahn

To the dismay of some of its citizens and neighbors, Nicaragua is still holding soccer matches, food festivals and beauty pageants.

Officially, the government of socialist president Daniel Ortega says there are only three active cases and one death attributed to COVID-19. The Johns Hopkins University tracker cites nine cases and two deaths. Across the border in Costa Rica, authorities have confirmed more than 600 cases.

As U.S. joblessness climbs, immigrant workers are facing a tough decision: pay rent and buy food or send critical dollars to family back home.

Fifty-one-year-old Anabel is struggling to do both. The Beverly Hills clothing store she cleaned four nights a week closed in early March. Holding onto the small apartment she and her husband share in Los Angeles is a top priority.

"We have had to cut back on food just to pay the rent," says Anabel, who asked NPR to not use her full name because she is undocumented.

Every Good Friday, for the last 176 years, the Iztapalapa neighborhood of Mexico City fills with religious pilgrims, tourists and the curious. In modern times, up to 2 million people crowd the streets to watch one of Latin America's most elaborate reenactments of Christ's crucifixion.

This year though, the whole affair has been moved indoors, and will be streamed live on the Internet and broadcast on national TV, due to Mexico's nationwide COVID-19 shutdown.

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told his countrymen this weekend, in video announcements, "Don't go out into the streets unless it's for something absolutely necessary." But the president, who's been slow to acknowledge the new coronavirus threat, drew sharp criticism for failing to model good social distancing.

As recently as eight days ago, López Obrador urged Mexicans to go out to eat in restaurants, out of concern over an economic fallout from the virus.

Mexico's health officials say it's time to keep your distance. Beginning Monday, people will be urged to maintain safe distances from one another and, if possible, work from home. Public schools, which were open through Friday, will remain closed until at least April 20.

As of Saturday night, Mexico's Secretary of Health reported 251 confirmed cases and two deaths from the coronavirus disease COVID-19. Some state and cities have already imposed stricter measures. On Sunday, Mexico City's mayor announced that bars, theaters and museums would be closed, also beginning Monday.

Editor's note: This story includes graphic descriptions of the search for human remains.

Manky Lugo has developed a gruesome expertise. Like a human bloodhound, she sniffs out traces of death.

Her gray hair wrapped in a bright-green bandanna, the 64-year-old applies her skill during an annual search for remains of fellow citizens who have vanished without a trace — victims of Mexico's drug wars and armed groups. A loved one of her own is among the missing.

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Mexico's president is gearing up for a national raffle. The prize? The presidential plane. It's like Mexico's Air Force One, but the president refuses to step foot in it.

The plane, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, has long been a symbol of government excess in the eyes of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He loves to rail on what he calls Mexico's corrupt political class, especially by pointing to the plane and those who bought and used it.

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