Guatemala says 50 migrants deported from U.S. test positive for coronavirus

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said on Sunday a total of 50 migrants deported by the United States to Guatemala have tested positive for coronavirus, including 14 sent to the Central American nation on a Tuesday flight.

Most of the deportees that have tested positive for coronavirus arrived from the United States on a Monday flight. Four others who tested positive arrived in March.

In total, Guatemala registered 32 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, Giammattei said, bring the total to 289 cases and 7 deaths.

“I want to emphasize that 14 of these 32 cases are people that were deported on a flight on April 14 and who tested positive today,” said Giammattei. “They were taken to hospital this morning from where they were being held in quarantine.”

The Trump administration has pressured Guatemala to keep receiving deported migrants despite growing concerns returnees are bringing the virus with them and could infect remote communities.

The April 14 flight came from Brownsville, Texas and was carrying 109 deportees, including 91 adults and 18 minors, according to Guatemalan migration authorities.

It is not clear where the deportees contracted the infection.

The United States said on Thursday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had sent a mission to assess the situation and test the migrants, who remain in quarantine in a hospital.

Guatemala temporarily suspended flights deporting migrants from the United States on Thursday after reports of the mass infection.

*story by Reuters