(CMR) The scheduled flights to Nicaragua tomorrow Saturday, April 18, have been canceled after the Nicaraguan government has decided to close its borders last minute. The shocking move comes after critics have said that the government there has been reckless about the handling of the COVID-19 crisis with calls for mass gatherings, no quarantines or travel restrictions.
The announcement of the canceled flights came earlier this afternoon via the Cayman Islands Government.
The cancellation applies to the following outbound flights from Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) to the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport:
Flight KX3070: scheduled to depart Grand Cayman at 8:30 am for arrival in Managua at 9:05 am
Flight KX3072: scheduled to depart Grand Cayman at 1:50 pm for arrival in Managua at 2:25 pm
Cayman Airways Reservations agents are in the process of contacting the affected passengers regarding the cancellation of the Managua repatriation flights, and passengers can also call 949-2311. Passengers will receive a refund back to their original form of payment for their tickets.
This comes as shocking news to all because Nicaragua was the only country in the Americas that keeps its land and sea borders and airport completely open. They had been accepting flights over the Easter weekend after the Ortega government was still attempting to promote tourism to the Central American country in these times of a global pandemic.
Critics have said:
“The closure of borders is a measure that the government of Daniel Ortega refuses to take, despite the fact that almost all the countries of the region have done so, as a possibility to contain the spread of Covid-19.”
Despite this effort to attract tourist's dollars, incoming traffic was dismal as over 100 countries around the globe have closed their land and air borders.
In fact, was the Americans who issued a statement last week that via the US embassy in Managua that:
“after the last Aeroméxico flight on April 9, there will be no commercial flights between Nicaragua and the United States until at least the beginning of May.”
They have come under criticism for the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic after the undeclared acting president Rosario Murillo told citizens to get out and enjoy themselves as well as to attend food fairs, sporting events, beaches and government rallies, to which the leaders will not appear.
President Daniel Ortega’s administration has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with tactics that blatantly contradict global health experts’ advice and put people’s health and lives at risk, Human Rights Watch said last week.
Ortega is the only Latin American leader who has not made a single public announcement on how his government would address the pandemic. Vice President Rosario Murillo, Ortega’s wife, told Nicaraguans to remain calm and continue working. The authorities have encouraged attendance at massive rallies and school and adopted only voluntary quarantine measures for people arriving from abroad.
Despite the government claiming to only have 9 cases thus far local health professionals said the total number is unknown and may be higher due to a lack of comprehensive testing.