Guatemala seeks curbs on U.S. deportation of immigrants

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala has asked the United States to limit its deportations of immigrants to the Central American country to 25 persons per plane because of concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, Health Minister Hugo Monroy said on Sunday.

The United States puts 60 to 90 migrants on each of up to three flights a day to Guatemala, which has become a key part of President Donald Trump’s plan to curb the flow of migrants.

Sunday’s request comes after two deported migrants, who arrived without virus symptoms, were hospitalised in recent weeks after testing positive.

“We are requesting safeguard the health of the country,” Monroy told a news conference, adding that 25 people set to arrive on a flight on Monday were certified healthy after 15 days of monitoring in the United States prior to deportation.

Guatemala would accept only deportees who hail from the area around its capital, to rein in the disease as most Guatemalan migrants in the United States were from rural areas, Monroy added.

Guatemala has recorded 70 infections and three deaths from the virus.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Clarence Fernandez