A group of almost 20 Argentines have been arrested since the weekend at the Fraternity bridge, between Foz do Iguaçu and Puerto Iguazu (Argentina), unable to enter their country or return to Brazil due to the closure of borders by the coronavirus epidemic.
Last week, the Argentine government extended the decree that prevented foreigners from entering the country to Argentines and residents of Argentina. The decree left around 15,000 Argentines outside the borders, in various parts of the world. A good part of them in Brazil.
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According to the Federal Police, people arriving at land borders are being warned that they will not be able to enter Argentina. The same work is being done by the country's consulates in Brazil.
Stuck on the bridge
Still, the group on the bridge today insisted on crossing. At the end of last week, there were eight, but during the weekend others arrived and now almost two dozen are waiting on the bridge for a solution. A tent was placed on the spot to shelter them from the sun and the PF and the Federal Highway Police are trying to get a chemical toilet.
According to the PF in Foz, the group left Brazil, despite having been warned that it could not enter Argentina. When he was prevented from entering his country, he was also unable to return to Brazil by the Brazilian decree that prevents foreigners from entering.
Held in Florianópolis
The case at the Fraternity Bridge is extreme, but other Brazilian cities are also taken by Argentines who are prevented from returning home. This is the case, for example, in Florianópolis.
The month of March is one of the favorites of Argentines to spend the summer on beaches in southern Brazil, as the end of the summer season reduces rental and hotel prices. The Argentine consulate in Florianópolis estimates about 1,000 people in the capital of Santa Catarina awaiting the possibility of returning home.
On the consulate's page on social networks, there are dozens of requests for help and complaints.
In several cases, Argentines complain about the flight cancellation that forced them to stay longer than planned and are now prevented from returning home. In one case, a lady says she is with a group of eight people over the age of 65 on one of the beaches on the island and asks for help to pay for accommodation, since several are running out of money.
Designer Damián de Carlo Magni is with his parents at Bombinhas beach, in Santa Catarina, unable to return home.
"They have their hotel paid for today and they practically have no money to pay more," he told Reuters. "It's been days since I filled out all the forms they asked for, they called me to say they received it, but they didn't give any more information."
Maria Adelia Segovia is in Bombinhas, a beach in the north of Santa Catarina, with a group of retired people between 65 and 80 years old. Part, which came in a minibus, managed to leave Brazil the day before the presidential decree. Others are imprisoned in Santa Catarina.
"I am 65 years old and my husband, 80. They rescheduled our flight, which was for the 25th, for the 23rd, but then they canceled. I got a hotel to stay, but they have no more flights," she told Reuters. "We are many here, all in the same situation, all over the age of 65. The Consulate does not answer the phone or answer e-mails."
The Argentine government decree is valid until next Tuesday, but it is expected to be extended, since President Alberto Fernández extended the decree of total isolation on Sunday until April 13.
Copyright © Thomson Reuters.