More than 150 Europeans, who were stranded in Panama and Honduras, were repatriated on Monday, May 11, thanks to a flight to Paris chartered by France, which plans for another Wednesday.
The French Ambassador to Panama, Brice Roquefeuil, welcomed "a vast coordination effort" with his partners from the European Union to transport 59 French, 27 Spanish, 18 German, 12 Italian and 10 Dutch, among other nationalities represented .
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Beatriz Perez, 40, of Spain, told AFP that she was due to return to her country in April, but that her flight had been canceled due to restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Finally we were able to board this flight, we are going back to Spain, but we do not know how the situation is there," she said.
The plane, which left Panama, embarked about sixty passengers during a stopover in San Pedro Sula (northwestern Honduras).
Two flights to respect social distancing
The project was originally to repatriate 300 people of 22 European nationalities, but the regulations in force in France forced to divide the quota in two to respect the recommended distance between passengers. The French Embassy in Panama therefore announced a second flight.
"I had to leave on today's repatriation flight [Monday], but I will have to wait two more days in Panama because they are boarding with half the people because of social distancing", lamented the French Roxane Bergougnoux, interviewed by AFP.
"Some passengers will have to stay overnight at the hotel to take a second flight, which will comply with the new provisions to transport everyone in good sanitary conditions," confirmed the French ambassador.
Panama is one of the Central American countries most affected by the epidemic, with 244 deaths and more than 8,000 cases identified as of Sunday.
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