Guatemala’s rising COVID-19 cases are a gnawing concern, and the country’s health ministry believes a lot of it has to do with U.S.’s ineptitude in testing deportees before sending them over to the Central American country.

Hugo Monroy alleged that a whopping 75% percent of the deportees on one plane was tested positive as soon as they underwent tests upon landing. The alarming numbers have sent shockwaves across the country, calling for more screening and stiff security measures to contain the spread.

“There are really flights where the deportees arrive … with fever – and they get on the planes that way,” said Monroy, as per a media outlet, at a congressional hearing on Tuesday. “We automatically evaluate them here and test them and many of them have come back positive,” he added.

Citing how more than half of the 200 COVID-19 cases in the country were that of the U.S. deportees, Monroy called the United States as the “Wuhan of Americas” while criticizing the U.S. and Mexico for sending migrants back amid a global health crisis. Going by what was mentioned on CEG’s statement; The Guatemalan government and officials also requested the U.S. to stop deportations.

Upon receiving more deportation flights from the U.S., the Guatemala government-imposed restrictions—to not let more than 25 deportees per flight from the states, and to conduct health examinations and certify that they are not tested positive.

As per a recent report, Deportation flights from the United States arrived in Guatemala on Monday after a week-long pause as a result of three deportees being tested positive for coronavirus. Despite the temporary suspensions, flights began to function on Monday with 76 migrants onboard the first and 106 on the second. News outlets implied that the pressure to resume flights of deportees could be traced to the sanctions being placed on Central America.

There’s a lot of ambiguity on this front, as Guatemala’s foreign ministry chose to not clear why the US had not adhered to the rules. The Guatemalan Immigration Institute disclosed that one of Monday’s flights comprised 16 unaccompanied minors. Approximately 12,000 Guatemalans, including more than 1,200 children were deported back from the U.S. since January.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Doctors New York, USA
Representational image. Misha Friedman/Getty Images

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