On Wednesday, the United States arranged two "relief flights" for US citizens who want to leave Nicaragua to return to their country, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which keeps air bridges frozen almost everywhere in the world.
One of the "relief flights", carried out by the firm Eastern Airlines, left this morning at the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport in Managua, with more than 200 passengers, bound for Miami.
"Relief flights" are offered by Eastern Airlines to Central and South America, as exceptions to border closures in almost every country in the world.
Nicaragua is one of the few countries that keep its borders open, in the midst of the pandemic.
The United States embassy announced that another "relief flight" will leave Managua for Miami tomorrow at 10:00 local time (16:00 GMT).
Despite the fact that the US diplomatic headquarters warned that tickets can only be purchased online, dozens of people who aspire to return to the United States crowded into the Nicaraguan airport, looking for a seat.
Hours after the embassy announcement, tickets were still available on the Eastern Airlines website, priced at $ 1,398.78.
NOT SICK WITH COVID-19
US authorities, who "strongly recommend that American citizens" consider "this option," cautioned that no person should arrive at the air terminal "if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, such as a cough, fever, or body pain "
The measure aims to prevent patients from "endangering their traveling companions or airport staff," they specified.
Although Nicaragua's borders remain officially open, the lack of flights has caused the stores at the country's main airport to keep their doors closed, which is why the United States recommended that travelers bring their own water and snacks.
The United States had already withdrawn part of its citizens from Nicaragua on April 1 and 2, through direct flights to the city of Houston.
On the 14th, the US embassy in Nicaragua recommended that its citizens store enough food, water and medicine for 15 days, and that they seek refuge, in the face of uncertainty about how President Daniel Ortega handles the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ortega has been criticized for not listening to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), and going in the opposite direction, by not establishing restrictions, nor implementing prevention measures, and promoting agglomeration activities.
The Nicaraguan government so far has reported 254 cases and 17 deaths from the pandemic. The COVID-19 Citizen Observatory, which enjoys greater credibility among doctors and scientists, has reported 1,594 patients and 351 deceased.