UPDATE 1-Guatemala suspends flights in growing Central America coronavirus lockdown

(Recasts with Guatemala border closure)

GUATEMALA CITY/TEGUCIGALPA, March 16 (Reuters) - Guatemala said it will suspend all flights and ban foreigners from entering the country for two weeks, while El Salvador and Honduras were in a state of near lockdown on Monday to halt the spread of coronavirus in one of the world’s poorest regions.

“The last plane will arrive at midnight, from zero hours on Tuesday we will be cut off by air from any destination in the rest of the world,” Guatemalan President Alejandro Giamattei said in a televised address to the nation.

Most regular activity in neighboring Honduras was at a standstill on Monday after the government decided to send public and private sector workers home, temporarily call off flights and suspend public transport to halt the spread of the virus.

Guatemala and Honduras have reported that the virus has infected six people in each country.

El Salvador, which borders both countries, has imposed travel restrictions on its own citizens as well as foreigners, invoking emergency powers to suspend some constitutional rights. No cases of coronavirus have been reported in El Salvador.

In Honduras, exceptions to the public sector suspensions include people working in healthcare, emergency services, security and national defense, customs, migration, ports and airports.

In the private sector, banks, hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, gas stations, freight operators and a few other sectors will continue to operate, the government said. (Reporting by Sofia Menchu and Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Dan Grebler)