Cases of coronoavirus are increasing in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, and it's already caused a diplomatic dustup between Mexico and El Salvador.
As of March 16, Mexico had 82 confirmed cases, 171 suspected cases and no deaths. As of the time of this writing, El Salvador has no confirmed cases, but the country's President Nayib Bukele isn't taking any chances.
The dustup involved Salvadorans flying from the United States, through the Mexico City airport where they attempted to board a Colombian plane (Avianca airline) to fly to El Salvador. Globalism in action!
Mexico rejected an accusation by Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele on Monday [March 16] that it had allowed a dozen people with coronavirus to board a flight to San Salvador [capital of El Salvador], saying medical staff had found no evidence of the virus on the travelers.
Mexico rejects El Salvador accusation it let coronavirus patients board plane, Reuters, March 16, 2020
So what exactly occurred?
Earlier, Bukele abruptly suspended all passenger flights to San Salvador after making his assertion on Twitter, describing Mexican authorities as "irresponsible." The Salvadoran president did not provide evidence for the claim, which Mexican Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said turned out to be "totally false."
In an evening news conference, Lopez-Gatell explained that 12 Salvadorans en route to San Salvador from Chicago had raised suspicions because they were wearing protective masks. Tests showed that none of them had the virus, he added.
[Mexican] Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard replied directly to Bukele on Twitter with news that medical authorities had determined the passengers for the Avianca flight were virus-free. "You will be delighted. Best regards," Ebrard wrote.
Bukele, who also complained to Ebrard on Twitter that Mexico had given political asylum to an annarmed man wanted in El Salvador, made his accusation before the flight took off [from Mexico City]. Avianca canceled the flight and said passengers had not boarded. The airline issued tweets thanking Bukele for alerting it to the presence of coronavirus patients on the passenger list.
Bukele later said San Salvador's airport had reopened after airlines accepted new health protocols. But flights from Mexico would remain suspended for the time being, he added.
We're likely to see more things, in various places, as COVID-19 progresses.