El Salvador quarantined – chaos at the airport

Nayib Bukele decreed a 21 days quarantine throughout the territory, due to the threat of Coronavirus COVID-19. He assured there were no confirmed or suspected cases in the country and that these measures were preventive (X).

Meetings of more than 500 people will be prohibited during thosee 21 days that started yesterday, March 11th.

The president added that, despite the quarantine, work “does not stop” in the country: “People can go out to work as normal”.



In total there were eight doctors available to take care of almost 300 travelers from various places, and who until Thursday morning remain stranded in a room in the air terminal. Some of them tried to forcibly leave the facilities, but the National Civil Police (PNC) prevented them and even asked for reinforcements to try to control the situation.

Some of the travelers who remain in the rooms of the air terminal have been forced to sleep in the chairs and on the floor. These passengers are waiting to be taken to a place where they meet the quarantine time, since at first they refused to be transferred to be isolated. They have been waiting for hours for the transport that will take them.

People who are at the airport share on social media that their temperature has not been measured and that they are being guarded by police.

Others, who since they arrived to the country on Wednesday afternoon agreed to be quarantined, are already in a shelter in Jiquilisco, Usulután, where they are mixed with travelers who came from different countries.

One traveller said that there was not one authority taking decisions. Many people got desperate and shouted that they should be let go.



“We need that the president Nayib Bukele comes and shows his face (…) they said everything was organized at the airport but that is a lie“, said a passenger who waited for a medical evaluation since 6 PM.

The director of the National Police, Mauricio Arriaza Chicas, arrived after midnight. Some minutes before that, a group of women, children, elderly and sick people were taken to quarantine, apparently.

Around that time, dinner was served to the rest of the passengers that were still waiting for a solution.



Photo by David Pleites



David Pleités, one of 32 Salvadorans that arrived yesterday from Spain, shared on Twitter photos of the place where they are expected to stay for 30 days on quarantine.

Around 8 PM on Tuesday he published his first Tweet where he said that all Salvadorans were on the same room.

“They have us ALL coming from Spain (and other countries from Europe) TOGETHER on a waiting room. Incredible! To avoid contagion they keep us together…”


He said that there is no isolation. He also said that they don’t have basic products such as soaps and towels.

I am not complaining about being on quarantine. It is what it is. However, quarantine means isolation and that is the least we have over here, there is no soap or paper towel in the restrooms. What a way to contain the virus“, he wrote.

He also wrote that the place where they are is not appropriate. Pleités says that there are people sleeping on the hallways and that, inside the 5×3 rooms, there are up to eight persons.


Another Salvadoran woman, identified as Adriana Barahona, also in quarantine, said they had not received food and that the place was not appropriate.

“We have not received food. There is such a waste of plastic when we could easily be at home for this quarantine causing no discomfort”, she wrote.




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