Karen Longaric, Bolivia's de facto foreign minister, reported on May 6 that 138 stranded Bolivians had tested COVID positive. The stranded Bolivian nationals reported infected while complying with quarantine in Iquique, Chile, where they are waiting to return to Bolivian territory.
"About 30 people were tested, resulting in 21 positive cases," said Tarapaca Mayor Miguel Angel Quezada. As he stated, the new contagious outbreak adds up the previous contagious toll.
Iquique's Mayor, Mauricio Soria, qualified the situation as a "sanitary disaster." As Soria explained, the Bolivian transportation from the Chilean capital to the border occurred in inhuman conditions. Colchane municipality offered refuge and essential supplies to the first vagrant group, but given the increase in returning Bolivians, Iquique received them as well.
"Bolivians who remain stranded in Chile, due to the border restrictions by the government of Añez, ask for help to disinfect the school where they are. With tears in their eyes and signs, they are asking to return home."
Several social organizations requested that the coup born Bolivian government take action and implement a plan for their nationals' safe return. "As a Coronavirus emergency, it is urgent that the Bolivian Armed Forces and the Bolivian Air Force provide a humanitarian airlift for Bolivian families who have been stranded for a month in different cities of the country and need to return to their homes" Morales tweeted.
"Nadia Cruz, an ombudsman, says her office made every effort for more than three weeks to coordinate with the government to move these people but failed to get the same response from the national authorities."
Jeanine Añez's administration prevented nationals from entering Bolivia at the beginning of the pandemic. So far, 1.721 stranded Bolivians returned after they complied with a quarantine period in Chilean territory. Three thousand Bolivian citizens are still expected to return.
So far, Chile and Bolivia register 24,581 and 1,886 positive cases, respectively.