Saturday 21 May 2022

Central American countries limit entry from China to fight coronavirus

Guatemala and El Salvador are banning entry; Honduras is considering it; the Panama Canal authority require ships to report suspected cases; and Costa Rica has ruled out any ban

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The Central American governments of El Salvador and Guatemala have imposed travel restrictions to try to keep out the coronavirus, including barring travelers who have recently visited China, officials said on Friday.

A doctor looks to a monitor showing thermal scanners that detect temperatures of passengers at the security check inside the airport in Guatemala City, Guatemala January 27, 2020. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said his country’s ban applies to those who have been to China in the last 15 days. “The purpose is to shield Guatemala from coronavirus,” he told reporters after visiting a public hospital.

Giammattei, a retired doctor who took office this month, said the travel restriction applies to people entering via the country’s ports, airports and land crossings. He added that crews on ships arriving in Guatemalan ports that have been in China during the previous 15 days would not be allowed to enter, and that any crew member who did enter would immediately be quarantined.

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President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador had announced a similar ban on Thursday night, describing it as a “prudent” but unspecified amount of time.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, meanwhile, told reporters that his government would soon make an announcement aimed at “effective management of this situation.”

In Panama, the Panama Canal Authority said that ships arriving in canal waters, whether to port or transit, must report suspected cases 30 days prior to arrival if they have called at ports located in countries with confirmed cases.

Costa Rica has ruled out, for the time being, any entry ban.

No word from Nicaragua.

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