French returnees from Nicaragua and Argentina

A French citizen at Managua airport in Nicaragua on Friday April 3. OSWALDO RIVAS / REUTERS

About 160 European tourists, mostly French, left Nicaragua on Friday April 3 on a flight chartered by France as part of repatriations organized due to the epidemic caused by the coronavirus. "It is an exceptional operation", recalled the French Ambassador to Nicaragua, Philippe Létrilliart.

In total, 600 European tourists have left the Latin American country since the beginning of the week, on two flights, one chartered by Germany and the other by France, the delegate said. European Union, Pelayo Castro, present at Managua airport at the time of passenger boarding. "It was a huge coordination effort", he said.

Read also Coronavirus: hundreds of European tourists evacuated from Bolivia and Nicaragua

The Central American country has been widely criticized for failing to close its borders and for promoting social isolation to prevent the spread of the pandemic. In particular, the government has invited residents to visit the country's tourist centers during Holy Week, a holiday period and a strong tourist influx into Latin America.

"While elsewhere in the world, we recommend staying at home to counter the pandemic, Nicaragua is doing the opposite", lamented Sophia Gérard, before embarking.

People in Argentina for more than 14 days

In Argentina, 445 French tourists stranded in this country for several weeks must take a flight to France on Saturday. Several groups of tourists were already present in the Argentine capital, while others were to arrive on Saturday by buses chartered by the French Embassy, ​​domestic flights having been suspended since March 17 in this country.

"These are people who have been in Argentina for more than 14 days, stranded and confined, and they should be treated in the best way", according to a diplomatic source, with reference to the numerous police checks through which certain groups have passed.

Read also Coronavirus: new French repatriation on Friday, two dead on board the "Diamond Princess"

On March 12, the Argentine government suspended international flights from the areas most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, including European countries, for 30 days.

Some 132,000 French people have been repatriated since March 16, the day when French President Emmanuel Macron announced the establishment of a support system for French tourists and visitors traveling abroad. Between 4,000 and 5,000 French people are still stranded abroad.

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The World with AFP

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