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Guatemalan migrants are accompanied by Guatemalan government officials after being deported from the U.S. outside Guatemala's Air Force base in Guatemala City in Guatemala City, Guatemala April 30, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

Guatemalan deportees from U.S. test positive for virus

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Three Guatemalans deported from the United States this week tested positive for the novel coronavirus upon arrival in their country, Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry said Friday.

The May 13 flight from Alexandria, Louisiana carried 65 adults, according to the country’s immigration institute. More than 100 Guatemalan deportees have tested positive after arriving from the U.S.

The Foreign Ministry said that after the infections were detected, the Health Ministry was asked to get in touch with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review the protocols and decide what new measures would be necessary.

A deportation flight scheduled for Friday was cancelled after President Alejandro Giammattei announced Thursday night that the country would be on round-the-clock lockdown through the weekend because of a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.

READ MORE: Amid virus fears, deported Guatemalans treated as pariahs back home

On April 13, a deportation flight from Alexandria, Louisiana carried at least 71 infected Guatemalans. The CDC sent a team after that flight to confirm Guatemala’s testing.

Guatemala suspended flights several times, including after that case, to pressure the U.S. government to better screen deportees. The country’s health officials have complained that the deportees represent a significant portion of Guatemala’s infections.

The U.S. had started testing deportees for the virus before their flights, but another deportee tested positive this month even after the U.S. certified he had tested negative before leaving.

Guatemala has 1,487 confirmed cases and 31 deaths.

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