Guatemalan president Alejandro Giammattei has suspended all flights coming from the US after a lot of returnees were tested positive with novel coronavirus, international media reported. According to the country's health ministry, 32 Guatemalans had now tested positive for COVID-19. Giammattei, while talking to media reporters revealed that 12 randomly tested people on the flight turned out to be infected.
According to reports, the flight that landed on April 13 was carrying 73 Guatemalan citizens from Alexandria in US' Louisiana to Guatemala city. Speaking at a televised address about the flight, the leader claimed that “A large part of it was infected." Earlier this week, the flight had stirred political debate after the country’s health ministry Hugo Monroy asserted that nearly 75 per cent of people on a deportation flight that arrived in March from the US had already contracted virus.
According to reports, the US has reportedly been pressuring Gurtanmala for the intake of refugees. However, there are fears that the infected deportees could bring virus along with them which would eventually infect remote communities in the poor Central American nation. On April 15, the Trump lead administration said that it had sent a CDC mission to asses the situation and test migrants that were quarantined in a hospital since they landed in Guatemala.
Guatemala has till now reported a total of 257 cases and seven deaths as of now. Speaking in an address to people, Giammattei said, "Until the agreement between the two countries is fulfilled, giving us the certainty that those people will come with a certificate demonstrating they are free of the coronavirus, the flights of deportees are suspended." According to reports, all flights deporting Guatemalans from the US were temporarily suspended on April 9 after reports of the mass infection. He added that deportation flights had only started again on April 13 after a five-day suspension because of earlier infections.
(Image credit: AP)