Foreign Minister Felipe Solá revealed that the number of returnees corresponds to passengers by air and land. He said that tourists “realized late”
Foreign Minister Felipe Solá reported this Thursday in a virtual meeting with national deputies that after achieving the return to the country of between 60 and 70,000 Argentines, “there are around 10,000 stranded” abroad, while explaining that it is not possible to define a schedule repatriation for those in that situation.
Speaking before the Foreign Relations Commission, which is chaired by the deputy of the All Front Eduardo Valdés, the official specified that until March 31, that is, without counting the days of April, 154,000 Argentines had returned to the country by air and terrestrial.
He pointed out that by land borders the income limit is 500 people per day, while Ezeiza managed to expand the arrival limit from 300 to 400 citizens.
As he commented, in the first week of the quarantine, the volume of repatriations was higher, but as a result of the restrictions that the Ministry of Health was demanding based on epidemiological criteria, the income of stranded Argentine citizens abroad was “adjusted”.
Solá ruled out, at the request of the radical deputy Karina Banfi, that his portfolio is in a position to “define a timetable” for returns to the stranded beyond “seven or 10 days” given that the State only has direct control of Aerolineas Argentinas and as for flights operated by other companies, a series of factors intervene that make it impossible to have that level of predictability.
The foreign minister pointed against foreign airlines, without naming any in particular, for installing the idea that the Argentine government does not allow them to enter Ezeiza with Argentine passengers.
“It’s a lie. They don’t ask us,” he dismissed, and accused them of “not complying with the tickets sold.”
However, he stressed that the “political pressure” that his management is carried out on airlines from other countries and foreign foreign ministries “brings results,” and mentioned, for example, successful efforts with Latin America..
In another order, he specified that his portfolio has spent $ 1,160,000 to date on some 12 planes that were chartered or semi-chartered to bring Argentines from abroad, while $ 342,000 was spent on aid (food, accommodation, medications) to 3,597 vulnerable people who were left without resources.
“Vulnerable people are going to expand because many are going to run out of money. The passage of time runs counter.
Especially in his state of mind, “he admitted, adding that the consuls of every city in the world where there are stranded Argentines” have discretion to decide who is vulnerable and who is not. “
As he commented, in the first week of the quarantine, the volume of repatriations was greater, and as a result of the restrictions that the Ministry of Health was demanding based on epidemiological criteria, the income of Argentine citizens stranded abroad was shrinking, as point that currently there are about 300 people per day who pass through Ezeiza.
Regarding the criteria for putting together the lists of repatriations, he highlighted that they are made in order of the date of return in the passage, with the exception of those people who present some type of “vulnerability”, whether due to age, physical condition or illness, who are gives them priority for return.
However, he clarified that this criterion of the Foreign Ministry intersects with that promoted by the Ministry of Health, which determines in which destinations there are “more suspected” of being coronavirus carriers depending on the degree of local circulation, and therefore a higher risk.
In this sense, he mentioned that the most complex cases have to do with the flights that Aerolíneas Argentinas makes from Miami and Madrid due to the level of infections, and in this regard he considered that “each flight is a risk” for the health of passengers and crew.
Solá said that although there are Argentines who continue to join the lists of people who report their intention to return to the country, the repatriations that continue to be carried out daily lead him to think that “for now that number of 10,000” stranded will not be exceeded.
In this regard, he explained that the lists were bulging over time, for “tourists who realized late that they were in difficulty to return”, and also by Argentines who were left without seasonal work and travel in places like Andorra, the Mexican Riviera Maya, the United States, Southeast Asia and Oceania.
He explained that “a third layer” of Argentines who want to return to the country is added, who are compatriots who “had a” determined life “abroad with several years of residence but who” were left without work “from one day to the next , and “in the bad” they prefer to return.
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