Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Sunday ordered a "collective quarantine" in seven states, including the capital Caracas, to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, part of stepped-up measures throughout Latin America.
Peru declared a state of emergency and confinement of its population, enforced by security forces, along with complete closure of the country's borders.
Argentina and Colombia were among other countries to announce new travel restrictions and El Salvador also declared a state of emergency.
The region did not report its first coronavirus case until February 26, by which time it was well established in Asia and Europe. But Latin America has seen an acceleration in reported cases, with more than 550 people now infected and seven deaths, including the first in Guatemala.
In Venezuela, all activities in the seven states are to be suspended from early Monday. Food distribution, health services, transport and security are exempted, Maduro said in a television address to his crisis-devastated nation where the economy had already collapsed long before the pandemic struck.
"The only way to contain the channels of transmission is to enter in a... drastic phase of collective quarantine throughout the country," said Maduro, adding the measures "deserves great social discipline, great self-control" and people should stay at home.
This latest measure to combat the pandemic comes after Maduro previously banned flights to and from Europe, Colombia, Panama and the Dominican Republic. He also suspended school and university classes, and sports events.
Venezuela reported seven new cases of the COVID-19 illness on Sunday, taking its total to 17.
Maduro has said his response was inspired by that of China, one of Venezuela's main commercial allies. China, where the virus originated, put tens of millions of people under lockdown to help contain its spread.
Peru, where the number of cases had jumped to 71, imposed a 15-day emergency involving the "obligatory social isolation of our population," President Martín Vizcarra said in a national broadcast.
Only those in need of essential goods can go outside, he said, with the Armed Forces and Police in charge of enforcement. Peru had earlier barred cruise ships from docking at its ports for at least 30 days.
In Argentina, President Alberto Fernández announced the closure of the country's borders and a suspension of school until the end of the month. He said the border closure was only for people entering and there was no impediment to leaving Argentina.
Colombian President Iván Duque took similar actions. Colombians and foreign residents can still enter the country but must respect "an obligatory two-week isolation," he said.
Among those in quarantine is Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana, of the Arkea-Samsic team, who finished sixth Saturday in the Paris-Nice cycling race.