200 Guyanese on cruise ships and thousands in New York want to return home

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200 Guyanese on cruise ships and thousands in New York want to return home
A woman walks through a lightly trafficked Times Square in New York, Monday, March 16, 2020. Bars and restaurants will become takeout-only and businesses from movie theaters and casinos to gyms and beyond will be shuttered Monday night throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut because of the coronavirus, the states' governors said. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A woman walks through a lightly trafficked Times Square in New York, Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(NEWS ROOM GUYANA) — The National COVID-19 task force has received requests from an estimated 200 Guyanese nationals who are on cruise ships and thousands in New York and Miami who want to return home.

This is according to Chairman of the task force, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who told reporters via a virtual media conference Saturday that 80 Guyanese nationals in Miami and 10,000-12,000 persons in New York have indicated that they will return home if they can.

But the Prime Minister made it clear that this will not be possible until Guyana reopens its airports to incoming flights.

“We are aware of requests from Guyanese, up to yesterday [Friday], that they want to come back home and we said we’re on a lockdown of our air space and no flights would come in until such a time as the order expired or is varied or amended…I cannot say at the moment any consideration is active,” Nagamootoo said.

On April 4, Nagamootoo had said that Guyana will not be re-opening airspace to allow in Guyanese who are stranded overseas.

He had noted that while authorities flexed a little and allowed some flights of Guyanese returning home, this is no longer being done.

Guyana’s first recorded confirmed case and death of COVID-19 was that of a Guyanese woman who travelled back home from the United States. Other members of her family tested positive and were put in quarantine.

The News Room had reported that approximately 70 Guyanese have contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here requesting assistance in returning home as countries around the world battle the rapid spread of the Coronavirus 2019 Disease.

Requests were filed through Embassies, Missions and Consulates in New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Suriname and Trinidad among others.

Guyana initially closed its two international airports on March 19 to all incoming flights until April 2 but subsequently extended that closure to May 1.

During the closure, the Government granted permission for a chartered flight from Barbados to land at the Eugene Correia Airport at Ogle, East Coast Demerara on March 25 with Guyanese passengers.

There were 14 adults and three children on the flight. Some of them were students while others were on vacation. They were placed in quarantined and subsequently released.

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