Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard assured Monday that the passengers of the Avianca flight between Mexico and El Salvador are healthy, which was canceled after the Salvadoran President, Nayib Bukele, denounced that there were 12 passengers with COVID-19.
"Mr. President, we verified the passengers of the AVIANCA flight and I can confirm that they are healthy. The health authority did not find coronavirius," Ebrard said in response to Bukele.
And he especially stressed that the "12 Salvadoran youths who were wearing face masks" and who were trying to board the plane are also healthy.
Ebrard attached to his message a photograph of toilets with some passengers wearing masks.
Bukele ordered this Monday to close the runway of the "Óscar Arnulfo Romero" International Airport before the arrival of a commercial flight from Mexico in which 12 people infected with COVID-19 were supposed to be traveling.
"How irresponsible the Mexican authorities. Those patients should be isolated, not circulating at the airport," said the Salvadoran head of state, who stressed that "the plane will not be able to enter the country."
Shortly after, the airline Avianca, which has a connection point in El Salvador, announced on its Twitter account for Central America that flight AV431 was canceled, so it was never boarded.
"We thank the President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, for giving us the information and alerting us to patients with COVID-19 trying to board the flight," the airline added in a statement.
The head of Mexican diplomacy asked the Salvadoran president through Twitter to share "what are the 12 cases of coronavirus that he mentions and where they were confirmed."
"He is responsible in this and in any other case," demanded Ebrard.
But Bukele's response was to share Avianca's message in the company thanking the information provided by the Salvadoran.
The Salvadoran president expanded on Monday the measures to try to contain the virus and ordered that public and private employees who suffer from chronic diseases remain at home with pay for 30 days.
While countries such as Colombia, Argentina or Chile have announced the closure of their borders due to the Wuhan coronavirus crisis, the Government of Mexico has not yet adopted drastic measures beyond announcing the closure of schools on March 20 and the suspension of events with more than 5,000 people.