Guatemalans deported from the U.S., wearing masks as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus, line up to board a bus Monday after arriving at La Aurora airport in Guatemala City. The Guatemalan government says at least 100 migrants deported from the United States between late March and mid-April have tested positive for COVID-19. Credit: Moises Castillo | AP

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Guatemalan officials said Monday they would begin routinely accepting U.S. deportation flights again after being promised that every passenger would first have to test negative for the novel coronavirus.

The country halted the flights two weeks ago after scores of passengers turned out to be infected with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

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As of Monday, 117 deportees on four flights from the U.S. had tested positive for the virus, according to the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry. They account for more than 15 percent of all infections in the country.

Guatemala accepted one flight last week after U.S. immigration authorities said they had screened all 89 deportees for the virus. But it remained unclear whether such flights would resume on a regular basis.

Under the new guidelines laid out by Guatemalan officials, the number of deportees on each flight would drop from about 100 to about 75.

On Monday, 76 Guatemalan deportees arrived on a flight from Houston and immediately underwent medical examinations.

“None presented symptoms,” said Alejandra Mena, spokesperson for the country’s Migration Institute.

Three more flights were scheduled for this week, Guatemalan officials said.

Guatemala has paused and resumed deportation flights several times amid ongoing concerns that the flights might be importing the virus.

Guatemala first discovered infected deportees in late March, after about 30 passengers on a flight from Arizona tested positive.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had been conducting basic health screenings on the deportees but was not regularly testing them for the coronavirus.

On March 30, Guatemalan Vice President Guillermo Castillo told a local radio station that he “begged” the U.S. to stop deportation flights to Guatemala.

In mid-April, the Trump administration sent a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to Guatemala to help officials there test deportees.