Guatemala to Screen New U.S.-Bound Migrant Caravan from Honduras for Coronavirus

By Jason Peña on March 10, 2020

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei announced new security protocols to prevent the entry of people with coronavirus in a new United States-bound migrant caravan into Guatemala. The migrant caravan departed from Honduras on Monday.

According to a news report, the caravan contained between 100-150 migrants -- comprised of mostly adult men. The migrant bloc met at a bus terminal in the Honduran capital of San Pedro Sula and left on foot.

Also, the International Red Cross is preparing to assist caravan migrants along their travel routes to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The change in border enforcement comes after concerns that some migrants may harbor the coronavirus. The border communities of El Florido, Aguascalientes, and El Corinto will be checkpoints to control the flow of migrants coming from Honduras. Government health officials will be at each checkpoint to examine migrants who seek to enter Guatemala.

President Giammatti said, "There is a new caravan. We're going to stop it at the border and everyone is going to be thoroughly reviewed. Everyone will have their temperature taken and any person who has a symptom (of coronavirus) we will not let in; we will immediately expel them."

Giammatti emphasized government efforts to reduce the likelihood of Guatemalans contracting coronavirus; Guatemala has no reported cases of COVID-19. Of the Central American countries, only Costa Rica has so far registered infections.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele has taken similar measures. Migrants from the nearby countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua are now required to present a passport to enter El Salvador. The precaution will document the travel history of migrants and determine if they were recently in a country that contained a case of coronavirus.