The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, has said criminal gangs are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic after more than 50 people were killed between Friday and Sunday.
He authorised the police and army to use lethal force to curb the violence.
He also ordered a 24/7 lockdown for imprisoned gang members, arguing that many of the murders were ordered from behind bars.
Mr Bukele was elected last year on a promise to reduce the murder rate.
Police said that 24 murders had been reported on Friday, making it the deadliest day since President Bukele came to power in June 2019.
Another 29 people were killed by Sunday afternoon local time, according to police figures.